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 Citizens United V. Fec Decided 1-21-2010, Corps Can Spend What They Want?
jofortruth
Posted: Jan 22 2010, 12:42 PM


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QUOTE
cryptogon.com
Friday, January 22nd, 2010

Via: MSNBC:

In a landmark ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday struck down laws that banned corporations from using their own money to support or oppose candidates for public office.

By 5-4 vote, the court overturned federal laws, in effect for decades, that prevented corporations from using their profits to buy political campaign ads. The decision, which almost certainly will also allow labor unions to participate more freely in campaigns, threatens similar limits imposed by 24 states.

“When the people find they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.”


ANOTHER PARTISAN VOTE COMING OUT OF THE SUPREME COURT? 5-4 decision?

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/34975536#34975536

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy



QUOTE
Jan. 21: The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday overturned laws that had been in effect for nearly a century preventing corporations from using their own treasuries to support or oppose candidates for public office.


http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/34983886#34983886

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy




Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission - THE CASE: (Oral arguments are at the 1st link below)
http://www.oyez.org/cases/2000-2009/2008/2008_08_205

QUOTE
Facts of the Case:

Citizens United sought an injunction against the Federal Election Commission in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia to prevent the application of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA) to its film Hillary: The Movie. The Movie expressed opinions about whether Senator Hilary Rodham Clinton would make a good president.

In an attempt to regulate "big money" campaign contributions, the BCRA applies a variety of restrictions to "electioneering communications." Electioneering communication is "any broadcast, cable, or satellite communication which -- (I) refers to a clearly identified candidate for Federal office; (II) is made within -- (aa) 60 days before a general, special, or runoff election for the office sought by the candidate; or (bb) 30 days before a primary or preference election, or a convention or caucus of a political party that has authority to nominate a candidate, for the office sought by the candidate." Accordingly, Section 203 of the BCRA prevents corporations or labor unions from funding such communication from their general treasuries. Sections 201 and 311 require the disclosure of donors to such communication and a disclaimer when the communication is not authorized by the candidate it intends to support.

Citizens United argued that: 1) Section 203 violates the First Amendment on its face and when applied to The Movie and its related advertisements, and that 2) Sections 201 and 203 are also unconstitutional as applied to the circumstances.

The United States District Court denied the injunction. The court held that Section 203 on its face was not unconstitutional reasoning that the Supreme Court in McConnell v. FEC had already reached that determination. It also held that The Movie was the functional equivalent of express advocacy, as it attempted to inform voters that Senator Clinton was unfit for office, and thus Section 203 was not unconstitutionally applied. Lastly, it held that Sections 201 and 203 were not unconstitutional as applied to the The Movie or its advertisements. The court reasoned that the McConnell decision recognized the disclosure of donors "might be unconstitutional if it imposed an unconstitutional burden on the freedom to associate in support of a particular cause", but those circumstances did not exist in Citizen United's claim.

Question:
1) Did the Supreme Court's decision in McConnell resolve all constitutional as-applied challenges to the BCRA when it upheld the disclosure requirements of the statute as constitutional?

2) Do the BCRA's disclosure requirements impose an unconstitutional burden when applied to electioneering requirements because they are protected "political speech" and not regulable "campaign speech"?

3) If a communication lacks a clear plea to vote for or against a particular candidate, is it subject to regulation under the BCRA?

4) Should a feature length documentary about a candidate for political office be treated like the advertisements at issue in McConnell and therefore be subject to regulation under the BCRA?



Text of the Case: (Do a search for Citizens United v FEC. Choose the 3rd one - "08-205 Citizens United v. Federal Election Comm'n (01/21/10)"
http://www.supremecourtus.gov/opinions/09pdf/08-205.pdf
http://msnbcmedia.msn.com/i/MSNBC/Sections...tics/scotus.pdf

FEC Website (Full Details):
http://www.fec.gov/law/litigation/citizensunited.shtml

The 5 Justices who struck the law down:

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jofortruth
Posted: Jan 22 2010, 11:28 PM


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Supreme Court campaign finance ruling means changes on way in Texas
http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dw...n1.4bd48e5.html


QUOTE
08:54 AM CST on Friday, January 22, 2010
Christy Hoppe

AUSTIN – The Supreme Court's ruling on corporate money in campaigns will change part of Texas law but leave another part alone.

Texas is one of 24 states that drew a line prohibiting corporations or unions from running ad campaigns that directly attacked or promoted a candidate.

In effect, a lot of businesses in Texas get around that by framing their ads and mailings as issue-focused. Though they might mention a candidate, they wouldn't advocate his or her election or defeat. Under the Supreme Court's ruling, corporations can be more direct in their appeals.

Unchanged, though, is Texas' prohibition on corporations or unions donating money to individual candidates or coordinating their efforts with politicos.

The ruling probably doesn't affect the state's most famous pending campaign finance case, against former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay. He stands accused of money laundering by taking corporate money, siphoning it through the Republican National Committee in Washington and then distributing it to Texas candidates.

Dick DeGuerin, a lawyer for DeLay in the long-running case, said the Supreme Court's ruling "sure doesn't hurt our case."
But it probably doesn't give DeLay grounds for an immediate dismissal, either.

Christy Hoppe


Very Interesting!

QUOTE
Comments (7)
Posted by COWBOYJIM | 10 hours ago

The courts ought to read the comments made below.. They are all right on. We haven't learned anything from the Delay fiasco & the other lobbiest who is doing time !! The score is now GREED 10 - Middle America 0. My voice has been snuffed out, no longer matters, and what a shame the Republicans & Wall Street & Health Insurance companies are dancing in the streets, glorifying the fact that a $buck$ stuffed down your throat will keep the middle class out of the way we elect our representatives..


Posted by Hidden Agenda | 14 hours ago

This is just amazing. This is the destruction of the common man to decide elections. All candidates will just plainly be bought. There won't even be any need to hide which patsy the corporation bought off. He should wear logos of the company on his jacket.

At a time when people are sick of special interest groups having too much control in government the Supreme Court decides they don't have enough control. Disgusting. We are the only nation in the world where lobbying and corporate interest is allowed direct influence on government official and this needs to stop.

The article also fails to note the 5-4 decision with all conservative Justices voting for it and the four liberal Justices dissenting.
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jofortruth
Posted: Jan 23 2010, 12:15 AM


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Corporate "personhood" and election financing
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-kvKTDO3Xp4




BOTTOMLINE: This case is not about campaign contributions to candidates; that is limited by other legislation. It's about an independent expenditure that could be done through a PAC (there are thousands of these) to produce an AD or some such thing to be used during an election to persuade the public one way or the other who to vote for.

Did you notice how much spending there was in the last election? This ruling will allow easier and greater spending on campaigns.

It's interesting to note that this vote by the Supreme Court was another 5-4 partisan vote! IMO, that's not a good thing! (Conservatives ruled the day with one moderate on their side)



What's a PAC? (A list):
http://pac.leadershipinstitute.org/20052006/

These are groups that raise money to support a cause and there are 1,000s that spend ungodly amounts during elections to persuade people to vote one way or another and many times LIE TO US.

This is why you need to do your own research on people and think for yourself before you vote. Also, if you are still voting Dem or Rep because you always have voted that way - YOU NEED TO WAKE UP! YOU ARE BEING CONNED! BOTH PARTIES WORK FOR THE SAME ELITE AND ACT LIKE THE GOOD GUYS WHEN OUT OF POWER, JUST LIKE THE REP ARE DOING RIGHT NOW. DON'T FORGET HOW THE REP ACTED WHEN BUSH WAS IN OFFICE. THEY GAVE HIM EVERY THING HE WANTED (Remember all the legislation passed after 911 that wasn't even read?)JUST LIKE THE DEMS DO WITH OBAMA. UNTIL THIS SICK JOKE IS FIXED, BY KICKING PEOPLE OUT OF OFFICE IN EVERY ELECTION, NOTHING WILL CHANGE. THE DECEIT WILL CONTINUE.
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jofortruth
Posted: Jan 23 2010, 12:17 AM


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Supreme Court Rolls Back Campaign Finance Restrictions
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/01/21/s...k_n_431227.html

QUOTE
By a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court on Thursday rolled back restrictions on corporate spending in federal campaigns. The decision could unleash a torrent of corporate-funded attack ads in upcoming elections.

"Because speech is an essential mechanism of democracy -- it is the means to hold officials accountable to the people -- political speech must prevail against laws that would suppress it by design or inadvertence," wrote Justice Anthony Kennedy for the majority.

In his dissent, Justice John Paul Stevens accused the majority of judicial activism and attacked the use of corporate personhood in the case: "The conceit that corporations must be treated identically to natural persons in the political sphere is not only inaccurate but also inadequate to justify the Court's disposition of this case."

Republicans offered measured praise for the decision, but progressive good-government groups and Democrats responded angrily and vowed to fight back with legislation.

"With its ruling today, the Supreme Court has given a green light to a new stampede of special interest money in our politics," said President Obama in a statement. "It is a major victory for big oil, Wall Street banks, health insurance companies and the other powerful interests that marshal their power every day in Washington to drown out the voices of everyday Americans... That's why I am instructing my Administration to get to work immediately with Congress on this issue. We are going to talk with bipartisan Congressional leaders to develop a forceful response to this decision." (This is a very hypocritical statement by Obama because he was financed and put in office by these same powers and he has them in his cabinet and all over his administration and is giving them bailouts. THIS GUY IS A PIECE OF WORK AND LIES THROUGH HIS TEETH! THAT'S ONE THING HE IS CONSISTENT IN DOING!) rolleyes.gif

Democracy 21's Fred Wertheimer, for years a leading advocate of campaign finance reform, called the decision a "disaster for the American people and a dark day for the Supreme Court."

"The Supreme Court majority has acted recklessly to free up corporations to use their immense, aggregate corporate wealth to flood federal elections and buy government influence. The Fortune 100 companies alone had combined revenues of $13 trillion and profits of $605 billion during the last election cycle," Wertheimer wrote.

"Under today's decision, insurance companies, banks, drug companies, energy companies and the like will be free to each spend $5 million, $10 million or more of corporate funds to elect or defeat a federal candidate -- and thereby to buy influence over the candidate's positions on issues of economic importance to the companies."

"We are moving to an age where we won't have the senator from Arkansas or the congressman from North Carolina, but the senator from Wal-Mart and the congressman from Bank of America," said Melanie Sloan, director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.

The court found that the Federal Elections Commission overstepped its constitutional authority when it barred a conservative group called Citizens United from running ads for a movie attacking Hillary Clinton during the 2008 election season. Corporations and labor unions are now free to advertise -- and tell people to vote for individual candidates -- as they please. Before Thursday, corporations had to funnel money through political action committees to pay for ads, with limits on what could be spent. The court upheld, however, disclosure requirements for corporations that spend $10,000 to produce election-season ads, and ads will still have to disclaim who paid for them.

"Today's decision by the Supreme Court in Citizens United v. FEC, serves as an affirmation of the constitutional rights provided to Americans under the first amendment," said Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele in a statement. But, while Steele said he was pleased with the decision, he cautioned that unlimited spending by corporations will hurt the party apparatus.

"Free speech strengthens our democracy. While the Court's recognition that organizations have the freedom to speak on public issues and have their views protected from censorship is fundamental, the Court has now left an imbalance that disadvantages national parties in their ability to support their candidates."

Brad Smith, chairman of the Center for Competitive Politics, a group that filed an amicus brief in the case and since 2005 has advocated against campaign spending limits, praised the decision during a conference call with reporters.

"Most of us think that's good thing," he said. "Speech is important and this will be good in allowing unions and corporations to speak."

Labor unions don't seem to share the feeling.

"Unlimited corporate spending in federal elections threatens to drown out the voices of the people who should really be at the center of the political process, i.e., voters and candidates," said Anna Burger, treasurer of the Service Employees International Union, in a statement. "Unleashing corporate spending will only serve to distort and ultimately delegitimize the electoral process."

"It is a sweeping opinion -- in one fell swoop the Supreme Court struck down seemingly all bans on expenditures," said Marc Elias, a lawyer for congressional Democrats, in an interview with HuffPost. "We've had a series of Supreme Court rulings in recent years where the court splits the difference on certain things. We didn't see that here. They only thing they upheld was the disclosure provisions."

Elias is reportedly working with Democratic leadership to craft a legislative response, though he declined to provide any specifics.

"We'll wait and see whether or not the Hill decides to take this up," he said. "The court opinion notes that it looks to Congress in making findings about the need for campaign finance regulation so we'll see what the Hill does."

Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said Democrats would look at a legislative fix. "Giving corporate interests an outsized role in our process will only mean citizens get heard less. We must look at legislative ways to make sure the ledger is not tipped so far for corporate interests that citizens voices are drowned out."

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) added to the pile during a press conference: "The bottom line is this: the Supreme Court has just predetermined the winners of next November's elections. It won't be Republicans. It won't be Democrats. It will be corporate America."

One lawmaker has already launched a preemptive strike: Freshman Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) introduced a series of bills last week, such as the Business Should Mind Its Own Business Act and the Corporate Propaganda Sunshine Act.

Hans von Spakovsky, a legal fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation, said he didn't think Congress would be able to undo the decision.

"I think Congress is going to have a very difficult time if they want to pass a law limiting individual expenditures," he said. "If you read the decision, the court is deciding on constitutional issues... It will be very difficult to design any kind of new federal statute that reimposes restrictions without it immediately being found unconstitutional again."
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jofortruth
Posted: Jan 23 2010, 08:00 PM


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HERE'S WHAT STARTED THIS:

Hardball - guest David Bossie of Citizens United, producer of "Hillary, The Movie"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZPV-1eeDoTo




-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Who is Citizens United?
http://www.citizensunited.org/
http://www.rediscoveringgodinamericamovie.com/

The same group who produced this movie by Newt Gingrich!

See Citizens United:
http://z4.invisionfree.com/The_Great_Decep...topic=7926&st=0
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jofortruth
Posted: Jan 23 2010, 08:04 PM


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Citizens United used 'Hillary: The Movie' to take on McCain-Feingold
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/conte...2103582_pf.html

QUOTE
By Philip Rucker
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, January 22, 2010; C08

David Bossie, a veteran Republican campaign operative who made his mark investigating the Clintons, thought his group could offer a conservative answer to Michael Moore's successful films. After Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11" premiered in 2004, Bossie's Citizens United group released "Celsius 41.11."

And after it became clear that Bossie's longtime enemy Hillary Rodham Clinton would run for president, Citizens United released another flick: "Hillary: The Movie." Featuring a who's-who cast of right-wing commentators, the 2008 film takes viewers on a savaging journey through Clinton's scandals. The sole compliment about the then-senator comes from conservative firebrand Ann Coulter: "Looks good in a pantsuit."

But "Hillary: The Movie" never became a blockbuster. The Federal Election Commission restricted Citizens United's ability to advertise the film during the 2008 primary season, a decision that Bossie and other conservative activists saw as a threat to their freedom of speech.

"The marketplace for my movie was completely and totally shut down by the Federal Election Commission," Bossie said in an interview Thursday.

So he sued -- and thus was born Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the legal drama that resulted in Thursday's dramatic Supreme Court decision to overturn restrictions on corporate spending on behalf of or in opposition to political candidates.

Critics said Citizens United created the withering movie knowing that it would fall under the tangle of broadcast and advertising restrictions in the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law.

"The movie was created with the idea of establishing a vehicle to chip away at the decision," said Nick Nyhart, president of Public Campaign, a group that opposed Thursday's decision. "It was part of a very clear strategy to undo McCain-Feingold."

When the Citizens United case went to a lower court in 2008, the court sided with the FEC, saying that the film was effectively a 90-minute campaign ad "susceptible of no other interpretation than to inform the electorate that Senator Clinton is unfit for office, that the United States would be a dangerous place in a President Hillary Clinton world, and that viewers should vote against her."

Bossie and his legal team fast-tracked the case, appealing to the Supreme Court. They easily recruited one of the right's most experienced lawyers, Theodore B. Olson. He worked with the group's counsel, Michael Boos, and Floyd Abrams, a veteran First Amendment lawyer who worked on the Pentagon Papers case.

Olson, a former solicitor general, had argued before the Supreme Court countless times, including representing George W. Bush during the 2000 Florida recount. But this case was special.

"Hillary: The Movie" was dedicated to his wife, Barbara Olson, a conservative commentator who was a passenger on American Airlines Flight 77 when it crashed into the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001. She was a longtime Clinton critic, working with Bossie in the trenches on Capitol Hill through the 1990s investigations, and wrote the book "Hell to Pay: The Unfolding Story of Hillary Rodham Clinton."

"Very, very few people in the world knew as much about Hillary and Bill Clinton as Barbara Olson did," Bossie said, adding that Ted Olson "had an emotional connection" to fighting this case.


Bossie said Ted Olson was "singularly responsible for our winning this case." Olson transformed the case from a narrow one about McCain-Feingold to an assault on the law's constitutionality, helping crystallize the issue for the justices.

When the Supreme Court first heard the case in March, Deputy Solicitor General Malcolm L. Stewart, representing the FEC, was pulled into a discussion of an issue that took him down a slippery slope: If the movie were a book, would the government ban publishing the book if it mentioned a candidate for office within the election time frame?

Stewart said that it could.

"That's pretty incredible," Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. said.

Then came questions about electronic devices such as the Kindle.

"If it has one name, one use of the candidate's name, it would be covered, correct?" Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. asked.

"That's correct," Stewart replied.

"It's a 500-page book, and at the end it says, 'And so vote for X,' the government could ban that?" Roberts asked.

Bossie said this was the argument that turned a majority of the bench against the FEC and in favor of Citizens United.


"That sent a chill down the Supreme Court," Bossie said. The argument became a "point of demarcation."

Citizens United spent about $1.25 million in legal fees on the case -- so much, Bossie said, that it "makes you cry."

But, he said, it was worth every dollar.

"We have been trying to defend our First Amendment rights for many, many years," Bossie said. "We brought the case hoping that this would happen. . . . to defeat McCain-Feingold."
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jofortruth
Posted: Jan 23 2010, 08:42 PM


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Newt praises Supreme Court ruling as benefit for free speech & middle-class political candidates
http://newt.org/tabid/102/articleType/Arti...41/Default.aspx

QUOTE
National Public Radio NEWS, All Things Considered.
January 21, 2010

MADELEINE BRAND, host:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. Im Madeleine Brand in California.

MELISSA BLOCK, host:

And Im Melissa Block in Washington, where today the Supreme Court created what one veteran court watcher calls a small revolution in Campaign Finance Law. In a sweeping ruling, the Court said corporations can spend freely on political campaigns. The justices ruled five-to-four, striking down limits that have been in place for decades. The decision also struck down part of the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Law from 2002.

We're going to hear two points of view now. In a moment, a longtime advocate of campaign finance reform, Fred Wertheimer. But, first, to Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House. He's an opponent of campaign finance reform. And, Mr. Gingrich, would it be fair to say you are elated by today's Supreme Court ruling?

Mr. NEWT GINGRICH (Former Speaker of the House): Well, Im delighted. And I think I would say that the real campaign finance reform under our Constitution would be to allow anyone to give unlimited amounts of after-tax money, with the understanding that they would file every night on the Internet what they're spending and how they're spending it, so everybody could see who was involved.

But the convoluted, very complex system that we built over the last 30 years has primarily been anti-middle class. It's been anti-middle class candidates. If you're going to retain constitutional freedom and allow people to criticize their politicians effectively and allow them to be engaged effectively, I think you want to really be engaged in allowing the maximum of resources to be in politics, not the minimum.

I think the fundamental underlying model of bureaucratic finance reform has been wrong. And it's not that Im against reform, but the reform we need is to liberate the American people to criticize their politicians.

BLOCK: And you say that liberation would mean no restrictions on campaign funding at all.

Mr. GINGRICH: I think as long as it's after tax money and as long as it's filed every night after the - on the Internet, that it would be actually very, very helpful.

BLOCK: You say that campaign finance restrictions are anti-middle-class. Im curious how you see this ruling as helping the middle class, as opposed to giving a lot more power to big business. The president said today this is a major victory for powerful interests that marshal their power every day in Washington to drown out the voices of every day Americans.

Mr. GINGRICH: Well, the president was elected in part by labor unions who massed their resources of people, who have no choice but to have their money taken out of their dues. The president spent money that was donated through to a variety of organizations, including MoveOn.org, by very, very rich people.

Now, all Im saying is you as a citizen ought to the right to complain about your incumbent congressman, or your incumbent senator, or your incumbent president - and you should not be constrained by the government, you should not risk criminal proceedings. And thats what the Founding Fathers wrote. Thats why the First Amendment has the right of free speech and it has been I think stunningly perverted by the kind of regulations we've had over the last 30 years, and theyve been profoundly wrong.

BLOCK: You're saying that this ruling affects the average citizen expressing his or her voice, as opposed to corporations being allowed to spend freely.

Mr. GINGRICH: Im saying that it allows you to have a middle-class candidate go out and find allies and supporters who are able to help them match the rich. And able to help them match the incumbent. Remember, incumbents run with millions of dollars in congressional staff, congressional franking, congressional travel. And they have all the advantages of being able to issue statements from their incumbent office. And the challenger - the person out there who's the citizen who's rebelling, who wants to change things - is at an enormous disadvantage in taking on incumbents.

This will, in fact, level the playing field and allow middle-class candidates to begin to have an opportunity to raise the resources to take on the powerful and the rich.

BLOCK: Mr. Gingrich, when you bowed out of the presidential race in 2007, you mentioned McCain-Feingold as a reason. You said it penalizes being a citizen, that you couldnt campaign and at the same time run your group, American Solutions.

Do you think this ruling today changes that? And does that mean you might be a candidate in 2012?

Mr. GINGRICH: I actually dont know yet. Our attorneys are looking at the ruling, but it's a pretty long ruling and they haven't figured out what it means. But this is a different setting than 2008 and we would certainly look at it in a different way.

I do think this ruling makes it easier for, you know, pro free enterprise conservatives who are critical of government to acquire the resources to take on very, very wealthy liberals who want to buy seats.

BLOCK: And would that include you? Are you now thinking more seriously about a campaign?

Mr. GINGRICH: I might. We have to wait and see. If there's a movement for real change and if there's a real sense that we can recruit candidates at every level to change things, then (unintelligible), I would certainly have to look at it very seriously..

BLOCK: Newt Gingrich, thank you.

Mr. GINGRICH: Thank you.

BLOCK: Republican Newt Gingrich is former speaker of the House. He now chairs the group American Solutions, a conservative political advocacy organization….



More on Gingrich the people should know:
http://z4.invisionfree.com/The_Great_Decep...p?showtopic=789
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jofortruth
Posted: Jan 24 2010, 01:33 PM


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McCain (as well as others) are up for reelection in 2010 in the Senate. Was this ruling timely in that respect? One has to wonder, especially since he and Giuliani campaigned in London and now could get financial help from Corporations in other countries?
http://z4.invisionfree.com/The_Great_Decep...topic=7929&st=0


Did McCain ever get in trouble from the FEC for fundraising in London during his campaign? The Rothschilds held a dinner for him to raise money for his campaign, against the US laws:
http://www.judicialwatch.org/files/2007/04...laintMcCain.pdf
http://z4.invisionfree.com/The_Great_Decep...topic=2543&st=0
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jofortruth
Posted: Jan 24 2010, 01:36 PM


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Manchurian Candidates: Supreme Court allows China and others unlimited spending in US elections
http://www.infowars.com/manchurian-candida...n-us-elections/

QUOTE
Greg Palast
January 23, 2010

In today’s Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the Court ruled that corporations should be treated the same as “natural persons”, i.e. humans. Well, in that case, expect the Supreme Court to next rule that Wal-Mart can run for President.
 
Our future elections may come down to a three-way battle between China, Saudi Arabia and Goldman Sachs.
 
The ruling, which junks federal laws that now bar corporations from stuffing campaign coffers, will not, as progressives fear, cause an avalanche of corporate cash into politics. Sadly, that’s already happened: we have been snowed under by tens of millions of dollars given through corporate PACs and “bundling” of individual contributions from corporate pay-rollers.

The Court’s decision is far, far more dangerous to U.S. democracy. Think: Manchurian candidates.

I’m losing sleep over the millions — or billions — of dollars that could flood into our elections from ARAMCO, the Saudi Oil corporation’s U.S. unit; or from the maker of “New Order” fashions, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army. Or from Bin Laden Construction corporation. Or Bin Laden Destruction Corporation.

Right now, corporations can give loads of loot through PACs. While this money stinks (Barack Obama took none of it), anyone can go through a PAC’s federal disclosure filing and see the name of every individual who put money into it. And every contributor must be a citizen of the USA.

But under  today’s Supreme Court ruling that corporations can support candidates without limit, there is nothing that stops, say, a Delaware-incorporated handmaiden of the Burmese junta from picking a Congressman or two with a cache of loot masked by a corporate alias.

Candidate Barack Obama was one sharp speaker, but he would not have been heard, and certainly would not have won, without the astonishing outpouring of donations from two million Americans. It was an unprecedented uprising-by-PayPal, overwhelming the old fat-cat sources of funding.

Well, kiss that small-donor revolution goodbye. Under the Court’s new rules, progressive list serves won’t stand a chance against the resources of new “citizens” such as CNOOC, the China National Offshore Oil Corporation. Maybe UBS (United Bank of Switzerland), which faces U.S. criminal prosecution and a billion-dollar fine for fraud, might be tempted to invest in a few Senate seats. As would XYZ Corporation, whose owners remain hidden by “street names.”

George Bush’s former Solicitor General Ted Olson argued the case to the court on behalf of Citizens United, a corporate front that funded an attack on Hillary Clinton during the 2008 primary. Olson’s wife died on September 11, 2001 on the hijacked airliner that hit the Pentagon. Maybe it was a bit crude of me, but I contacted Olson’s office to ask how much “Al Qaeda, Inc.” should be allowed to donate to support the election of his local congressman.

Olson has not responded.

The danger of foreign loot loading into U.S. campaigns, not much noted in the media chat about the Citizens case, was the first concern raised by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who asked about opening the door to “mega-corporations” owned by foreign governments. Olson offered Ginsburg a fudge, that Congress might be able to prohibit foreign corporations from making donations, though Olson made clear he thought any such restriction a bad idea.

Tara Malloy, attorney with the Campaign Legal Center of Washington D.C. says corporations will now have more rights than people. Only United States citizens may donate or influence campaigns, but a foreign government can, veiled behind a corporate treasury, dump money into ballot battles.

Malloy also noted that under the law today, human-people, as opposed to corporate-people, may only give $2,300 to a presidential campaign. But hedge fund billionaires, for example, who typically operate through dozens of corporate vessels, may now give unlimited sums through each of these “unnatural” creatures.

And once the Taliban incorporates in Delaware, they could ante up for the best democracy money can buy.

In July, the Chinese government, in preparation for President Obama’s visit, held diplomatic discussions in which they skirted issues of human rights and Tibet. Notably, the Chinese, who hold a $2 trillion mortgage on our Treasury, raised concerns about the cost of Obama’s health care reform bill. Would our nervous Chinese landlords have an interest in buying the White House for an opponent of government spending such as Gov. Palin? Ya betcha!

The potential for foreign infiltration of what remains of our democracy is an adjunct of the fact that the source and control money from corporate treasuries (unlike registered PACs), is necessarily hidden. Who the heck are the real stockholders? Or as Butch asked Sundance, “Who are these guys?”
We’ll never know.

Hidden money funding, whether foreign or domestic, is the new venom that the Court has injected into the system by its expansive decision in Citizens United.

We’ve been there. The 1994 election brought Newt Gingrich to power in a GOP takeover of the Congress funded by a very strange source.

Congressional investigators found that in crucial swing races, Democrats had fallen victim to a flood of last-minute attack ads funded by a group called, “Coalition for Our Children’s Future.” The $25 million that paid for those ads came, not from concerned parents, but from a corporation called “Triad Inc.”

Evidence suggests Triad Inc. was the front for the ultra-right-wing billionaire Koch Brothers and their private petroleum company, Koch Industries. Had the corporate connection been proven, the Kochs and their corporation could have faced indictment under federal election law.
As of today, such money-poisoned politicking has become legit.

So it’s not just un-Americans we need to fear but the Polluter-Americans, Pharma-mericans, Bank-Americans and Hedge-Americans that could manipulate campaigns while hidden behind corporate veils. And if so, our future elections, while nominally a contest between Republicans and Democrats, may in fact come down to a three-way battle between China, Saudi Arabia and Goldman Sachs.









This question of whether foreigners can now more directly aid campaigns must be answered! I'm sure some of them did this through PACs prior, but now their job is easier if I understand this ruling. Will have to look closer! They may have just legitimized something that was already happening in an around about way! Seems they pull this stunt alot! rolleyes.gif
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jofortruth
Posted: Jan 24 2010, 01:37 PM


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Call For Immediate Arrest of 5 Supreme Court Justices for Treason
http://www.infowars.com/call-for-immediate...es-for-treason/

QUOTE
Gordon Duff
Veterans Today
January 23, 2010

Five members of the Supreme Court declared that a “corporation” is a person, not a “regular person” but one above all natural laws, subject to no God, no moral code but one with unlimited power over our lives, a power awarded by judges who seem themselves as grand inquisitors in an  meant to hunt down all hertics who fail to serve their god, the god of money.
 
There is nothing in the Constitution that makes this “gang of five” bribe sucking clowns above the law.
 
Their ruling has made it legal for foreign controlled corporations to flush unlimited money into our bloated political system to further corrupt something none of us trust and most of us fear.  The “corporation/person” that the 5 judges, the “neocon” purists, have turned the United States over to isn’t even American.  Our corporations, especially since our economic meltdown are owned by China, Russia and the oil sheiks along with a few foreign banks.  They don’t vote, pay taxes, fight in wars, need dental care, breathe air, drive cars or send children to school.  Anyone who thinks these things are people is insane.  Anyone who would sell our government to them is a criminal and belongs in prison.  There is nothing in the Constitution that makes this “gang of five” bribe sucking clowns above the law.  There is nothing in the Constitution that even mentions corporations much less gives them status equal to or greater than the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches of government.

The Supreme Court of the United States has no right to breathe human life into investment groups owned by terrorist sympathizers, foreign arms dealers or groups working for the downfall of the United States and everything we believe in, but 5 “justices” have done just that.  We now have a new government above our government, above our people, one above any law.   Five judges have created institutionalized gangsterism as the new form of government for the United States.

No American soldier can ever go to war fighting for a Chinese hedge fund, a German bank or a Saudi Arabian fertilizer company.  Will our new debates in Congress be between members representing the opium warlords against the Columbian cartels?  Their cash, which long ago has infiltrated one major corporation or bank after another is now heading for your local representative.   How important do you think secure borders for America are for these new policial “influencers?”

For years we complained about AIPAC, the Sierra Club, the NRA, trial lawyers, trade unions, NAM (National Association of Manufacturers) and the churches that got involved in politics.  Behind all of these were people, American citizens, and, on some occasions, Americans who fought for their country, raised kids here and were invested in the survival of America although they didn’t always act that way.  This was an American problem.  Now we aren’t even sure we have an America anymore.

Anyone who believes that a massive flood of corporate money into politics won’t throw control of both houses of Congress into the hands of the wealthy nations that are also our primary strategic enemies, you know the ones, the ones loaded with oil cash, the ones with 10 cent an hour labor and legal systems that  shoot first and ask questions later.  They just were told they can buy the United States, not just our government, but our military, and the lives of our soldiers.  They can now make our laws, raise our taxes, decide on our civil rights, where we can live, if we can own guns, how late we stay up, where and what we drive and, eventually, how we think.  The Supreme Court has given foreign owned corporations the eventual power to silence us all.

When a corporation commits a crime, nobody goes to jail.  When wars come, they don’t fight, they simply rake in cash.  When children are poisoned or workers are killed, they seldom even pay a fine.  However, when they want something, billions in tax money for “bail outs” or fat contracts or special laws, they have always gotten it.  It  has been a battle to control corporations for 140 years.  Sometimes the American people have lost, sometimes they have won.  Our greatest presidents are the ones who reined in corporate power and kept the influence of money over humanity in check.  Think of Theordore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower and John Kennedy.

Without them we would be living in work camps, stuck at machines all day, our children at our sides.  We would be paid in beans and salt pork, dying at 40 in filth like people around the world who live in countries controlled by corporations.

Based on the justices that we want prosecuted being Reagan/Bush “conservatives” you would think this is a liberal/conservative issue.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Nothing less “conservative” has ever been done by a branch of our government.  There is nothing “conservative” about our Supreme Court going insane and abandoning our Constitution and making medical decisions, not to give life to a fetus, but to a bank account.

This is nothing but an extremely unAmerican and unpatriotic group of thieves believing that Americans had given up so many of their civil liberties in silence during the Global War on Terror scam that opening the “Pandora’s Box” of class conflict could now be done with nobody saying a word.  Their “corporate person” is now a Baron or Duke, the great landlords of the medieval period.  Americans are now destined for serfdom.  Their political and economic theories, what are they?  Is it conservatism or feudalism?

We are already burdened with a representative government that has tied itself to the money spigot because of the incredible cost of media exposure in campaigns.  People running for office in ancient Rome would purchase thousands of animals for slaughter in the arena.  Mass executions were staged as media events for political campaigns.  In fact, the arenas in every Roman city were built for that purpose, today replaced by television and the internet.  We thought we had changed since that time.  We were wrong.

The framers of the Constitution created the Supreme Court, the Electoral College and originally had Senators appointed, not elected, to protect the wealthy from having their money and land seized by the masses who would otherwise have controlled the government.  This was the 1780s.  The only “democracy” we knew about was ancient Athens, where the majority of the people living there were slaves.    27 Amendments later, including the Bill of Rights, we have worked to define justice and decency.  Generations have fought and died to keep life in our imperfect system from 1780.  Who would have thought that 5 people could destroy it all?

Political debate in America is sometimes extreme, often bordering on violence.  Feelings are high.  How many times have you heard people threaten to leave the country because “their America” no longer exists.  We know that few really mean it.  When faced with a real threat, no people on earth are to be feared like Americans.  When help is needed, no people on earth are to be trusted and relied on like Americans.  This is the pride we have in our country and ourselves.  We never agree on anything.  We aren’t supposed to, we are Americans.

Everything we built has been based on a balance, race, religion, ethnicity, social standing, political beliefs, regional interests, all striving and compromising to build something we are all secretly very proud of, something all of us are willing to fight for and many are.  Americans all agree on one thing, that our government in Washington is out of control and has been for some time.  We all have different ideas on this but agree on the fact itself.  We wonder where the politicians come from, men too often “less great” than those of the past, in fact, less great than average.  Decisions are continually made that most find puzzling and, in fact, are driven by a rotten underbelly of corruption and self interest.

Now, 5 members of the Supreme Court, people none of us voted for, a group that is answerable to no authority and, seemingly, no law or moral code, a group famous for immoderation, poor judgement and low personal integrity has, either through blindness, avarice or insanity clearly done something so malicious, so unjust and so utterly inconsistent with our Constitution that they, themselves, have become an “enemy of the people.”

What is their power?  What they have done is not within the scope of the authority given through the Constitution.  Their acts are outside the law, their acts are those of a conspiracy, their acts are meant to diminish our freedoms, our sacred institutions and even endanger our lives.  Typically, such acts are called crimes and those who commit them are criminals.

What could drive judges, albeit judges appointed with little thought as part of a cheap political ploy, to abandon any American consitutency?  Corporations have no religion.  They care nothing for the unborn.  They have no allegiance to a flag, a family or any moral ethic.  They serve no person, owe no loyalty other that to stockholders, shadowy groups of Russian oligarchs, Chinese banks, corrupt dictators grown fat on the spoils of their people or the international consortiums of bond and currency speculators who have, for decades, abandoned any economic law to build the etherial “house of cards” we call the “world economy.”

The control of the American electoral process has been given to them.  No serving politican can survive now standing against them.  Years ago “they” bought our newspapers and our television networks.  Fact and truth became whatever they wanted us to believe.  “They” gained control of what many thought and what almost all of us see and hear.  That wasn’t enough.  They wanted it all.  As their control has grown, so has terrorism, continual war, economic poverty for millions Americans and insensitivity to justice and humanity.  Who would expect anything else from a corporation with no blood, no heart and no face?

The Founding Fathers led America on the path to freedom and eventual democracy.  The Federalists limited the ability of an impetuous electorate to seize power and “reform” America into chaos and anarchy.  This system of government was predicated on the belief that love of country would always burn brightly in America and with progress, freedom and bounty was the ineviable reward of our industry.  It is only now too obvious that so much has happened that was unforseen.  It is not a denial of our traditions to correct wrongs when we find them.  This was how America was created.  We are drowning in wrongs, we all finally agree on this.

The time is now.  Party politics have failed.  Political theories are little more than empty rhetoric meant to mislead and misinform.  State has become church and church has become state.  State is less just and church less godly.  All we have left is “we, the People.”  This is how we began and it is now all we have to move forward.  It is time for the states to call for a Constitutional Convention to establish, not just a Republic, but a Democracy, by and for the people, the American people, rich and poor, a nation loyal to itself, not tied to corporations, a vast military industrial complex or endless foreign alliances.

If it is to be a genuinely conservative nation, one with individual freedoms, a small government, fewer taxes and more opportunity, a nation as intended, then we will all have to live with it.  The bloated corpse we are creating in Washington is emitting a stench we can no longer abide.  We will be saying goodbye to our Supreme Court, our seniority system in Congress and our political machines pretending to be “parties”  and hello to paper ballots, a free press, term limits and the ability to yank a scoundrel out of office when we catch one.
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jofortruth
Posted: Jan 24 2010, 01:40 PM


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Countdown - Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL08) on Citizens United v FEC: "Corporate Coup"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LydMazB2iNs



THE PART I DON'T AGREE WITH THAT GRAYSON SAID IN VIDEO ABOVE, IS THAT WE ARE A DEMOCRACY. WE ARE NOT A DEMOCRACY, AMERICA IS A REPUBLIC. I WISH THESE GUYS WOULD GET THAT STRAIGHT!

THE FOLLOWING VIDEO WAS CENSORED BY YOU KNOW WHO UNDER THE PRETENSE OF WHAT YOU SEE ON THE SCREEN BELOW!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RtQGSuOaXnY

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jofortruth
Posted: Jan 24 2010, 03:43 PM


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McClatchy - Commentary: Editorials on Supreme Court ruling on Campaign Finance:
http://www.mcclatchydc.com/340/story/82834.html

QUOTE
The following editorial appeared in the Los Angeles Times on Friday, Jan. 22:

THE FIRST AMENDMENT AND CORPORATE CAMPAIGNING

According to one campaign reform group, the U.S. Supreme Court created "a disaster for the American people" by ruling Thursday that corporations could spend money out of their own corporate pocketbooks on independent advertisements endorsing or opposing candidates for public office.

We hope that's an exaggeration. But the 5-4 decision certainly will complicate the effort to reduce the corrupting influence of special-interest money in campaigns. What's most disturbing is that the court could have resolved the issue before it - whether Congress erred in 2002 when it restricted "issue advertising" in the weeks before an election - without going nearly so far.

Instead, the court took the unnecessary step of overruling a 1990 decision. This overreaching by the majority, including Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., belies Roberts' assurances to the Senate during his confirmation that he believed in judicial modesty and decision-making by consensus. Instead, Thursday's decision, with conservatives on one side and liberals on another, inevitably will encourage the impression that the court is just another political body.

We say this even though we support - and advocated - the specific outcome in this case. The court was correct to conclude that Citizens United, a conservative group, had a right to air on cable television a scathing "documentary" about Hillary Rodham Clinton at a time when she was seeking the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination. As we have repeatedly observed, the provision of the McCain-Feingold law used to prevent the telecast was unconstitutionally over-broad. It banned the airing within 30 days of a primary or 60 days of a general election not only of advertisements that asked viewers to vote for or against a candidate, but also of any "electioneering communication" that so much as mentioned a candidate, even if it didn't specifically endorse or oppose.

This section of McCain-Feingold, whose primary purpose was to ban "soft money" contributions to political parties, was aimed at so-called sham issue ads that are in fact thinly disguised campaign promotions ("Call Senator X and tell her to abandon her socialist program"). Before McCain-Feingold, unions and corporations were already forbidden from explicitly endorsing candidates. But the new electioneering communication provision created a much heavier burden on political speech, catching in its regulatory net ads that combined a statement about an issue with criticism of a candidate's record.

The first major challenge to this provision came when a Wisconsin anti-abortion group wanted to broadcast ads urging the state's senators - only one of whom was up for reelection - not to block President George W. Bush's judicial nominations. The group was subject to the ban on corporate endorsements because, although nonprofit, it accepted some contributions from businesses. Eventually the court ruled that applying the electioneering communication ban to the ads was unconstitutional. In that 2007 decision, Roberts narrowed the prohibition to cover only those ads that were "susceptible of no reasonable interpretation other than as an appeal to vote for or against a specific candidate."

Even this refinement didn't dispel the ambiguity; witness the disagreement over whether "Hillary: The Movie" qualified as electioneering communication, even though it was 90 minutes long, even though it was available to cable television viewers only "on demand," and even though, while it dealt with the 2008 campaign, it had a longer shelf life. The problem wasn't just these two broadcasts: It was the fact that electioneering communication had such an elastic meaning that judges faced the prospect of continually second-guessing decisions by the Federal Election Commission to permit or disallow an ad; meanwhile, corporations and unions might forgo the right to advertise at all (a right recognized by the law) rather than brave expensive litigation.

That's why the court was right to invalidate the electioneering communication provision in Thursday's decision. But it didn't stop there. In his majority opinion, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy went on to overturn the 1990 decision, so that corporations will now be allowed to spend money not just on electioneering communications such as the Clinton movie, but also on political ads that specifically endorse or oppose a candidate (as long as the ads are made independently of the candidate's campaign). That goes beyond the issue at the heart of the case. The court should have left it for another day and another case, one that might have produced a less polarized and politically suspect decision.

This decision is the latest example of the difficult - but necessary - process of reconciling the free-speech protections of the 1st Amendment and the widely acknowledged need to reduce the influence of special-interest money in elections. Even the justices in the majority recognize that some special rules for corporations and unions are constitutional. For instance, Thursday's decision didn't strike down laws requiring corporations and unions to disclose who contributed to an ad, nor did it invalidate the prohibition of direct contributions to candidates by unions and corporations.

Thursday's decision is likely to energize the debate over public financing of campaigns, which would be a healthy result. Congress also could consider regulations that would require unions and public companies to ensure that their political activities are supported by the rank-and-file or shareholders.

Citizens too can resist manipulation by vested interests by educating themselves about the agendas of those who seek to influence their vote - even if those self-interested sales pitches are protected by the First Amendment.

The following editorial appeared in the Chicago Tribune on Friday, Jan. 22:

THE CORPORATE SOAP BOX

You may soon be hearing a lot more from your favorite drugmaker or bank about which political candidates it favors and why.

That's the upshot of a U.S. Supreme Court decision on Thursday. The court in a 5-4 ruling overturned a century of law and said that corporations enjoy freedom of speech, including the right to bankroll political speech through paid advertising.

We understand the deep concern about this ruling. Bank of America and Pfizer have a lot more money than you do, and that means they can speak more loudly than you can at campaign time. A corporation with the will and the deep pockets could overwhelm a candidate it doesn't like with negative ads.

The bottom line, though: We're not afraid of information. We trust voters to sift through political messages, consider the source, and vote their best judgment.

It's not as though corporations don't already influence politics. They bankroll campaigns through political action committees, those though do have spending limits.

So what now? Will you start to see candidate endorsements on the back of Wheaties boxes? Probably not. But you probably will see more efforts by companies large and small to get their views - and their candidate preferences - across to voters. (Direct donations by companies to candidates' campaigns are still barred.) If Motorola thinks Pat Quinn shouldn't be governor of Illinois because of his stance on, say, texting while driving, then you may hear about that.

We suspect this means that candidates will have less control of the message in their campaigns. They're going to have new competition. Those with long memories will recall when then-Sen. Chuck Percy had to contend with a California businessman who bankrolled ubiquitous ads in 1984 that compared Percy to a chameleon.

We suspect this also means there will be pressure to raise the caps on how much candidates themselves can raise and spend. Those caps should be raised, or abolished.

Some analysts predict a flood of corporate political spending, with companies creating slick spots or hogging the air to make their case. But don't be so sure about that. If anything, corporate influence may become more transparent than it is now. A company that pours money into a campaign to back one candidate or slap another candidate, or that steps out in public to offer its views on an incendiary issue at campaign time, risks a backlash. It could lose a lot of customers who disagree with its views.

Take note: What the Supreme Court on Thursday allowed corporations to do in federal elections, they have always been able to do in Illinois elections. Yet we have not seen corporations mount their own campaigns for or against state candidates here.

In a dissent, Justice John Paul Stevens said the majority decision "threatens to undermine the integrity of elected institutions across the nation." We'd like to think democracy is stronger than that.

The following editorial appeared in the Sacramento (Calif.) Bee on Friday, Jan. 22:

COMING SOON: MORE ATTACK ADS

By overturning a longstanding precedent banning corporate spending on campaigns, the U.S. Supreme Court almost surely will affect the race for U.S. Senate and congressional campaigns across the state and nation.

The 5-4 majority made up of conservative justices took a decidedly activist stand, applying the same First Amendment rights that individuals enjoy to corporations and, by extension, labor unions.

Voters will see the result - and it may not be pretty. There will be yet more attack ads, Internet assaults and mailers to clutter inboxes and airtime leading to Election Day.

The justices have been whittling away at restrictions on corporate and union financing of presidential and congressional elections since 1976. But Thursday's ruling makes clear that corporations (and unions) can directly spend money on ads urging the victory or defeat of candidates.

Such interests have had to use political action committees to get around previous restrictions. No more. The majority in the Citizens United v. FEC decision called PACs "burdensome alternatives" in part because they are limited to voluntary contributions from shareholders, employees or union members. So the five justices swept the PAC requirement away.

Previous decisions had opened the door to "issue ads" directly from corporate and union treasuries. An example is the "Americans for Responsible Health Care" ads that appeared Thursday in newspapers in five states (including The Bee), after a TV ad campaign in Massachusetts.

Previously, such ads couldn't expressly urge the victory or defeat of a particular candidate. With the court's ruling, that has now changed.

Here in California, you can expect to see corporations, unions and other interests create front groups modeled after Citizens United, a conservative non-profit that produced a caustic Hillary Clinton documentary in 2008, leading to Thursday's court decision. Millions will likely be spent in high-profile contests, ranging from the seat now held by U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer to Richard Pombo's attempt to return to Congress.

Is there anything left of federal campaign finance law? The 1907 ban remains on contributions from corporate treasuries directly to political candidates, which was extended to unions in 1943. That ban is in doubt.

Fortunately, the court upheld disclosure and reporting requirements - although Justice Clarence Thomas was willing to jettison even those requirements. Any corporation that spends more than $10,000 in a year to produce or air ads must file a report with the Federal Election Commission revealing the names and addresses of anyone who contributed $1,000 or more to the ad's preparation or distribution. And the broadcast of the ad must say who is responsible for its content, plus the name and address of the group behind the ad.

The disclosure laws have big holes, however. Federal disclosure is turgid at best. It remains difficult for voters to decipher who are the true donors to various front groups.

The message to voters is: "Buyer Beware." As election day nears, businesses and unions that have a huge stake in the election of certain politicians will have more power than ever to influence the outcome.

The following editorial appeared in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Friday, Jan. 22:

A GAME CHANGER

Welcome to the new corporatocracy, worse than the old corporatocracy.

By easing restrictions on corporate giving to election campaigns on Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court has opened floodgates that can further drown politics in special interest money - as if campaigns needed any more such saturation. And it could make elected officials all that more leery of putting voter interests above these other more narrowly focused, big monied interests.

During confirmation hearings Chief Justice John Roberts indicated a reverence for precedent. That was then. On Thursday, Roberts, joining the four other conservative justices in a 5-4 vote, made it clear that this was simply an expedient.

For decades, the court has recognized that corporations - at their core, simple legal constructs - are not human beings. This court, in an opinion written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, essentially makes many of those distinctions go away when it comes to political speech.

Corporations - and unions - are now free to use money from their own general treasuries to produce and run their own election ads, likely rendering moot, as written, a measure passed by the Wisconsin Senate this week that would have regulated third-party issue ads.

Free speech? By ensuring vast amounts of spending, this ruling ensures that to be heard above the din, the most effective political speech will be anything but free. The danger is that independent campaigns will be able to define the candidates better than the candidates.

The ruling did preserve disclosure requirements and still allows laws that block corporate contributions directly to candidates.

Clearly, a state legislative response is needed.

Public financing - in a law recently signed by Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle - is newly available to state Supreme Court candidates. It should be extended to all state candidates. The better to respond to attack ads from corporate, union or other interests.


Another response might be to narrow the perhaps-moot issue ads legislation to a bill that focuses solely on disclosure requirements. Could such disclosure inhibit corporations from entering the fray for fear of not wanting to be so public about their politics? Who knows? But disclosure is worth a shot.

Thursday's ruling is sure to change the political landscape. And not in any way that benefits the average voter.
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jofortruth
Posted: Jan 24 2010, 04:25 PM


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What does the law say about foreign donations to campaigns? (Using an interesting document that involved John McCain during his 2008 bid for President. Did he break the law by campaigning in London?)
http://www.judicialwatch.org/files/2007/04...laintMcCain.pdf

Note: pg 2 of the above document and the law below:
http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/us...E=3745&TYPE=PDF

‘‘Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002’’ (Sections 201, 203 and 211 in particular)
http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/us...USCC14&PDFS=YES
http://www.loc.gov/law/help/citizens-united.php

US Code: (See Section 441)
http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/us...USCC14&PDFS=YES

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jofortruth
Posted: Jan 24 2010, 06:17 PM


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QUOTE
Citizens United v. FEC in plain English

Re-argument, a special session, and Stevens' oral dissent
Lisa McElroy | Friday, January 22nd, 2010

By now, you have likely heard the news:  The Supreme Court ruled yesterday that the government may not keep corporations (and probably, as Lyle reasons in his post yesterday, labor unions) from spending money to support or denounce individual candidates in elections.  While the business entities 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. Why?  Because the First Amendment guarantees the right to free speech, and political spending is one form of that protected speech.

The four dissenting Justices were vocal and vociferous:  They voiced the concern that allowing unfettered spending by rich corporations will allow those corporations to influence the outcome of elections in sweeping ways.  They also explained that corporations are not human beings and should not have the same free speech rights that humans do.

As Lyle explained in his post yesterday, certain campaign finance rules remain valid after the Court’s decision.  Corporations spending more than $10,000 a year on such ads have to disclose the names of donors who supported them.  And corporations must reveal who sponsored the ad.  Only Justice Thomas did not agree with these restrictions.

The case involved the now-notorious film produced by Citizens United that sought to discredit Hillary Clinton’s presidential candidacy.  In ruling that Citizens United could not broadcast the film, the lower court invoked a federal law (known to most of us as McCain-Feingold) which prohibited corporations from spending money to broadcast “electioneering communications” within a certain number of days before an election.  In other words, the law heavily restricted corporations’ political speech in the form of spending, as well as the timing and forum of broadcasts.  Labor unions had been similarly restrained under federal law for over sixth years.

The timing of the decision is exquisite.  With the mid-term elections coming up later this year, the decision is sure to prompt many corporations to make room in their budgets for political spending.

Much about today’s decision was not unusual: The Court was split five-to-four, along typical ideological lines (Thomas, Roberts, Alito, Kennedy, and Scalia in the majority, Sotomayor, Breyer, Ginsburg, and Stevens dissenting).  The case made sweeping changes in federal election law, overturning previous Supreme Court cases and clarifying language in others.

But there were quite a few things about the Citizens United announcement and opinion that were unusual.

First, the length of the opinion.  Actually, there were five opinions.  Justice Kennedy wrote for the majority of five justices, and Justice Stevens wrote for the dissenters.  Justices Scalia and Thomas and Chief Justice Roberts also filed separate opinions.  But taken as a whole, this opinion was 176 pages.  Unprecedented?  Certainly not – big cases often result in long, detailed opinions, as well as several concurrences and dissents (and some opinions, especially in campaign finance and death penalty cases, have even approached 300 pages).  But unusual?  Definitely so.  Remember that these opinions are dense, devoted to legal analysis and citation.  Reading this opinion was an all-day job, even for those in the know.  And writing it?  That must have been an incredibly arduous task.

At this point, it may be useful to discuss how opinions are written at the Supreme Court.  You probably know that a majority opinion is authored by a single Justice, but it stands for the opinion of the Court.  Therefore, when we see Citizens United cited in the future, we won’t hear people say, “Justice Kennedy said . . .”  Instead, they will say, “The Supreme Court held.”   In other words, Justice Kennedy was responsible for expressing the views of the Court, not just his own.  How did he come to write the opinion?  Well, the Chief Justice (who has been on the Court for less time than all but one of the Justices in the majority, Justice Alito, but is nonetheless regarded as “senior” to the other Justices because he’s the Chief Justice) would have assigned him to do so. When the Chief is in the majority, he assigns the opinion to another Justice in the majority (or sometimes to himself).  He chooses the author of the opinion based on a number of factors, such as whether a Justice has completed his/her workload, whether a Justice is due for his/her turn in writing an opinion (the Justices traditionally try to spread out the load as evenly as possible), and even how likely it is that authorship will keep a Justice in the majority.  When the Chief is not in the majority, the senior justice in the majority makes the assignment.

Now, the Justices author the opinions, but they have lots of help.  Every Justice is allowed to have up to four law clerks to help him/her with his opinion writing, among other tasks.  Law clerks are usually recent law school graduates, most of whom were at the top of their respective classes at some of the best law schools in the country.  Some Justices ask the clerks to write a first draft of an opinion, then give it to the Justice to revise.  Some do the reverse.  At least one Justice is widely known to employ both methods, drafting his own opinions but asking the law clerks to do the same, then deciding how to combine the two.  At the very least, law clerks research the legal issues exhaustively and talk through the reasoning in an opinion with their Justice. For a case of this magnitude, that entailed countless hours of work.

What all of this means in terms of Citizens United is that there are some mighty tired law clerks and Justices out there somewhere.  This case has been a long haul, from the cert. grant last Term to the first argument (also last Term) to the re-argument in September to this behemoth opinion, which certainly went through many drafts.

On to unusual detail number two.  As mentioned above, this case has been going on for quite some time.  In fact, it has even survived a Justice (Justice Souter, who retired in June) and lived to see a new one (Justice Sotomayor, who took her seat on the SCOTUS bench this summer).  While it does happen from time to time that a case will be at the Court that long, it certainly does not happen often.  The Justices try to conclude their work in deciding cases by late June every year.  Often, this means that we see a slew of opinions in June – an exciting time for SCOTUS watchers.  But in this case, the Court instead asked for re-argument this fall, meaning that they heard argument in the case twice.  Why did the Court ask for the re-argument?  Essentially, to address additional issues beyond the narrow ones on which the Court originally granted cert., including whether the Court should overrule precedential cases upholding restrictions on political spending by corporations.

Court watchers have been predicting for weeks that this decision would come down any minute.  Now that we have seen the opinion, particularly the lengthy dissent, we can understand why it took quite some time.  And the truth is that the Court makes its own schedule.  It takes its time to make sure that an opinion is just right before announcing it; that makes sense, given how important the cases before the Court are and how far reaching the decisions will be.

So, unusual detail number three.  The Court announced on Wednesday that it would have a morning session on Thursday, on a day with no arguments scheduled.  Decisions are usually announced and opinions released on days when arguments take place; if you go to the Court to hear an argument, you may be lucky enough to be there on an opinion day, and you will hear one of the Justices announce the decision of the Court from the bench. There are also several days in non-argument weeks when the Justices announce orders and opinions.  But given that today was supposed to be a work day for the Justices, rather than a day when they headed into the courtroom, Court watchers could guess that it was going to be an important decision coming down, and indeed many thought the time had certainly come for the decision in Citizens United.

Finally, unusual detail number four.  Justice Stevens read his dissent (or some of it – if he had read all ninety pages, we’d still be in Court) from the bench.  While the author of the majority opinion will often select a key portion of that opinion to read from the bench, it is quite unusual for a dissenter to do so.  When it happens, it’s a sign that the dissenter feels very strongly that the Court got it wrong.  Because the Court has a stake in operating as a uniform body – which is what keeps the rule of law alive, after all – dissenters generally “respectfully” dissent, both in writing (check out the last line of almost any dissenting opinion) and in conduct.

For more details on the substance of what the Court decided yesterday, check out Lyle’s informative posts (see below) on the opinion, as well as the links collected by Erin to other media sources.
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jofortruth
Posted: Jan 24 2010, 07:23 PM


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Analysis: The personhood of corporations
http://www.scotusblog.com/2010/01/analysis...f-corporations/

QUOTE
Lyle Denniston | Thursday, January 21st, 2010

Analysis

Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens may have had his tongue in his cheek, or perhaps wanted merely to taunt the majority, when he wrote in Thursday’s opinion on the role of corporations in national politics: “Under the majority’s view, I suppose it may be a First Amendment problem that corporations are not permitted to vote, given that voting is, among other things, a form of speech.”  It is a tantalizing notion.

Suppose that General Motors Corp., troubled that a candidate for Congress from Michigan was too favorable to the United Auto Workers, decided to do everything in its corporate power to defeat that candidate.  So, aside from spending huge sums of its own money (none of it federal bailout money) to influence the outcome, it went to the office of the voting registrar in downtown Detroit.  It sought to sign up, affirming that it was a citizen and resident of Michigan.  Denied registration, it sued, claiming that, under the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, it was a “person,” and, as a “citizen,” it was entitled to equal protection under the election laws.  Would the Supreme Court buy that?

General Motors might already be halfway to winning its lawsuit.  It has been understood, for decades, that corporations are “persons” under the Constitution.  And nothing the Supreme Court said Thursday undermined that notion.  If anything, the decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission conferred new dignity on corporate “persons,” treating them — under the First Amendment free-speech clause — as the equal of human beings.

At least in politics, the Court majority indicated, corporations have a voice, and they have worthy political ideas.  Here is the way Justice Anthony M. Kennedy put it (partially quoting from an earlier ruling): “Corporations and other associations, like individuals, contribute to the ‘discussion, debate, and the dissemination of information and ideas’ that the First Amendment seeks to foster.”

It does not matter that the right-to-vote scenario is quite implausible.  The fact is that the decades-old image of American corporations as a destabilizing and perhaps even corrupting influence in politics has now been thoroughly re-examined by the Supreme Court, and the corporate “person” emerges from the process with — in the eyes of the majority — a burnished image of good citizen.  There is a deep chasm of perception, between Thursday’s majority and the dissenters, about the nature of the corporate personality.

Justice Stevens, writing for the dissenters, turned Chief Justice John Marshall’s celebrated comment in the Dartmouth College case — in a ruling that actually favored the corporate form — into a belittling comment: “A corporation is an artificial being, invisible, intangible, and existing only in contemplation of law.  Being the mere creature of law, it possesses only those properties which the charter of its creation confers upon it.”

In vivid contrast, the majority overruled a 19-year-old precedent (Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce) that had lambasted the corporation, when it entered the political arena, because of ”the corrosive and distorting effects of immense aggregations of wealth that are accumulated with the help of the corporate form and that have little or no correlation to the public’s suport for the corporation’s political ideas.” That, the Court had said in 1990, was a form of corruption that legislators could use as the basis for singling out corporations for restrictions on their political activity.  The overruling may have been intended, in part, to scuttle that image.

The rehabilitation of the corporate “person” almost certainly was a project that five of the Justices were prepared to embrace.  It could be argued, indeed, that the Court put the case over to the current Term for a second argument, focused on corporation’s rights under the Constitution, as part of that project.  There was not a hint that those five, in the end, were in any way moved by the suggestion at that second argument by Justice Sonia Sotomayor that the Court may have been wrong for a century about awarding “personhood” to corporations.

The majority put aside the dissenting opinion’s repeated mentions of the special favors that the corporate form gets, treating those as a completely inadequate foundation for treating corporations differently as political citizens.  And Justice Antonin Scalia, in a separate opinion buttressing the majority ruling, went to considerable lengths to enhance the constitutional pedigree of corporations’ rights and to denounce the dissenters’ suggestion that the Founders did not think highly of corporations.

The question now arises whether the enhanced legal stature of corporations will make a difference in other fields of constitutional law.  One might suggest that corporations have already benefitted from greater sympathy from the current Court — for example, in constitutional limitations on the size of punitive damages that juries may assess for corporate wrongdoing.  And, this Term, there seems to be quite a realistic prospect that the Court, applying the Due Process Clause, may limit the scope of the federal criminal fraud laws when an executive of a corporation is accused of depriving the shareholders of “honest services.”

Going further, one might speculate whether it would be worth starting a lawsuit to test some of the restraints that states impose on corporations as conditions in their charters, in an effort to further liberate the corporate form.  Or, perhaps, one might anticipate a lawsuit if, as is already being suggested in some quarters, that Congress might respond to the Citizens United ruling by passing a law to require corporations operating in interstate commerce to be federally chartered, and decreeing that, as such, they are not “persons” with constitutional rights.

It is not too much to expect that lawyers for corporate America may well be looking to explore the outer possibilities of their clients’ “personhood” and new-found constitutional equality.
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jofortruth
Posted: Jan 24 2010, 07:26 PM


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Analysis: A few open, or not so open, questions - The next campaign finance lawsuit?
http://www.scotusblog.com/2010/01/analysis...open-questions/

QUOTE
Lyle Denniston | Thursday, January 21st, 2010

Analysis

After more than a year of study and writing, the Supreme Court on Thursday produced a ruling that may make the hundreds of millions spent in past presidential and congressional elections look like a pittance.  By removing existing restraints on what and when profit-making and non-profit corporations may say during federal election campaigns, the Court has significantly raised the financial stakes for all such elections, beginning with the primaries this year — the first of which occurs in 12 days, in Illinois.  But the Court did not directly settle everything with its release of 176 pages of opinions at 10:01 a.m. Thursday.

Some of the questions that linger are truly open questions after the ruling, some may have been partly settled, and some may actually have been settled, if only by implication.  Justice Anthony M. Kennedy’s controlling, 57-page opinion sweeps broadly, but it does not reach every issue that the highly complex mechanism of federal campaign finance regulation has raised.

Perhaps the most important question that one might ask in the wake of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission is: are labor unions as free as corporations to spend as much as they wish — independently of candidates — to influence elections to Congress and the White House?  The likely answer is: Probably, but check back later.

The parts of the federal law that the Court struck down, barring corporations from using their own in-house cash to spend on politics, are written to apply equally to labor unions.  And there are sections of the Kennedy opinion that seem to treat corporations and labor unions interchangeably.  For example, the most important single conclusion the Court draws is that the identity of the political speaker (spending money on politics is, to the Court, speaking) cannot be the basis for restrictions on their independent political spending.  Thus, it would seem, the same limitation that was nullified today for corporations may be gone for unions, too.

But that was not an explicit issue in the case, and the Kennedy opinion never says explicitly that the curbs are lifted for unions.  Even so, that is an issue that may well be settled, but only by applying the rules of logic, rather than anything conclusive that the Court said.

Another question, and this one the Court explicitly said it was not deciding, was whether foreign corporations with operations in the U.S. — placed under the same restrictions as domestic ones — might now be able to claim the same First Amendment protection if they want to spend large sums to try to influence U.S. federal elections.  Perhaps that is one example of the next generation of campaign finance lawsuits.

The Court also did not rule on the flat ban — in effect for corporations since 1907, and for labor unions since 1947 — on donations that they might want to make directly to a federal candidate or a candidate’s campaign organization.  That was not an issue in the Citizens United case, and it was discussed only briefly in the Kennedy opinion.  With the Court speaking with such fervor about the need for open and robust political spending, one might wonder whether a donation to a candidate is all that different, constitutionally, from paying for an independent ad that says vote for that candidate or vote against the opponent.  Does anyone in political finance have a yen to bring that challenge?  That is not clear.

And that last question gives rise to an even broader one: might this Court be willing, sooner rather than later, to cast aside the clear distinction it has drawn since 1976, declaring that political spending gets more constitutional protection than political donating?  In terms of message to the voters, does writing a check for an advertising campaign to help out a candidate speak any more loudly than writing a check to the candidate directly?  Or differently?  Justice Kennedy nowhere even alludes to this distinction, and whether it might now be drawn into question under the sweeping freedom-to-spend rhetoric of this opinion.

There is another broad question that largely goes unaddressed in this ruling, but it perhaps should be asked anew in the wake of this decision.  It involves a project that the Court, the Federal Election Commission, and politicians and their lawyers have been dealing with for years — defining the difference between a political message (in an ad, for example) that involves “express advocacy” and one that involves “issue advocacy.”  The former might well be an ad that says explicitly “vote for” or “vote against” Candidate X.  The latter might well be an ad that says write to Senator X (a pro-choice lawmaker) and tell her you are a pro-life voter.  The Court has said repeatedly that Congress has more power to curb the former than the latter.

But Thursday’s decision, using a broad free-speech rationale, struck down an explicit ban on use of corporations’ in-house funds to pay for an ad that would say “vote for” or “vote against” Candidate X (a ban that applied only during election season, fairly close to a primary or general election day).  One question is whether there is anyone in politics to whom that “express versus issue” distinction still applies?  That is a truly open question.

Given that there is always someone in American politics interested in testing any limit that any part of the government imposed on political expression, one can easily imagine that Citizens United is not the last word on questions it did not resolve.


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jofortruth
Posted: Jan 24 2010, 07:28 PM


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QUOTE
Lyle Denniston | Thursday, January 21st, 2010

The Supreme Court’s ruling on campaign finance upheld these requirements:

** Disclosure requirement: Any corporation that spends more than $10,000 in a year to produce or air the kind of election season ad covered by federal restrictions must file a  report with the Federal Election Commission revealing the names and addresses of anyone who contributed $1,000 or more to the ad’s preparation or distribution.

** Disclaimer requirement: If a political ad is not authorized by a candidate or a political committee, the broadcast of the ad must say who is responsible for its content, plus the name and address of the group behind the ad.

Justice Clarence Thomas was the lone dissenter as the Court upheld those requirements.
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jofortruth
Posted: Jan 24 2010, 08:42 PM


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The 2010 Campaign after the Court's "Citizens United" Decision
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H4LW0ImtwrA



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jofortruth
Posted: Jan 25 2010, 02:23 PM


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C-Span Videos on the Decision:
http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/291535-1

ONE SIDE SAYS IT'S A TRIUMPHANT DAY FOR THE FIRST AMENDMENT; THE OTHER SIDE SAYS IT'S THE WORST DAY EVER FOR AMERICANS!

ISN'T THIS AMAZING THAT OUR CONGRESSMEN AND OTHERS DON'T EVEN AGREE ON THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THIS RULING? SOMEONE IS LYING, SO WHO IS IT? WHO JUST DOESN'T GET IT? WHO NEEDS TO BE KICKED OUT, AND BANNED FROM ANY LEADERSHIP POSITION FOREVER?

THIS ISN'T A GAME GUYS. THIS ISN'T A SPORTING EVENT WHERE YOU TRY TO WIN. THIS ONE YOU SHOULD ALL AGREE ON ONE WAY OR THE OTHER. WHY DON'T YOU?

AND YOU WONDER WHY OUR COUNTRY IS IN TROUBLE???????
doh1.gif

Select ones:
http://www.c-spanarchives.org/program/ID/218505
http://www.c-spanarchives.org/program/ID/218444
http://www.c-spanarchives.org/program/ID/218450
http://www.c-spanvideo.org/browse?event=178952

Conservative Viewpoint: Says a win for free speech (they think Corporations should have the same rights as people?) Are they right?



Democrats Viewpoint: It's the worst day in history for Americans. Are they right?



McCain - Feingold Campaign Finance Reform legislation players weigh in, as well as Ted Olsen who argued the case for Citizen:
http://www.c-spanarchives.org/program/ID/212153




WHEN DO THE GAMES END, AND LOYALTY TO ONE'S COUNTRY BEGIN? PEOPLE WHO CALL THEMSELVES LEADERS NEED TO ASK THEMSELVES THIS VERY BASIC QUESTION!
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jofortruth
Posted: Jan 25 2010, 03:20 PM


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Related Campaign Finance Supreme Court Cases
http://www.cfinst.org/legacy/eguide/Mcconn...EC/related.html


Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U.S. 1 (1976)
http://www.cfinst.org/legacy/eguide/Mcconn...pdf/424us11.pdf

FEC v. Massachusetts Citizens for Life, 479 U.S. 238 (1986)
http://www.cfinst.org/legacy/eguide/Mcconn...df/479us238.pdf

Austin v. Michigan State Chamber of Commerce, 494 U.S. 652 (1990) This is the case the ruling overturned!
http://www.cfinst.org/legacy/eguide/Mcconn...df/494us652.pdf

Colorado Republican Federal Campaign Committee v. FEC, 518 U.S. 604 (1996)
http://www.cfinst.org/legacy/eguide/Mcconn...df/518us604.pdf

FEC v. Colorado Republican Federal Campaign Committee, (2001)
http://www.cfinst.org/legacy/eguide/Mcconn...df/533us431.pdf
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jofortruth
Posted: Jan 25 2010, 03:25 PM


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What about the timing of this ruling?

We have a HUGE MIDTERM ELECTION in November 2010? (Some races are already being decided)

Who has the most to gain? Conservatives!

Who has the most to lose? Democrats! (Obama's support is plunging in polls, and it rightly should be. His first year has been a disaster.)

IMO, BOTH PARTIES HAVE FAILED, AND IT'S TIME TO CLEAN HOUSE AND ELECT A NEW THIRD PARTY, OR AT LEAST NEW CANDIDATES. STOP VOTING FOR INCUMBENTS; IT'S THE ONLY WAY TO GET CONGRESS' ATTENTION THAT WE'RE SICK OF THEM PLAYING GAMES WITH OUR COUNTRY!

BOTTOMLINE: IF YOU ARE A "LEADER" WHO CAN'T STAND UP, THEN YOU NEED TO STAND DOWN!
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jofortruth
Posted: Jan 25 2010, 03:52 PM


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Citizens ruling: an intellectually dishonest power grab
http://voices.washingtonpost.com/postparti...ntellectua.html


QUOTE
In opening the floodgates for corporate money in election campaigns, the Supreme Court did not simply engage in a brazen power grab. It did so in an opinion stunning in its intellectual dishonesty.

Many of those commenting on the decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission have focused on the power grab part. I agree. It was unnecessary for the court to go so far when there were several less-radical grounds available. It was audacious to seize the opportunity to overrule precedents when the parties had not pressed this issue and the lower courts not considered it. It was the height of activism to usurp the judgments of Congress and state legislatures about how best to prevent corruption of the political process.

"If it is not necessary to decide more, it is necessary not to decide more," a wise judge once wrote. That was Chief Justice John Roberts -- back when -- and dissenting Justice John Paul Stevens rightly turned that line against him.

As bad as the court's activism, though, was its shoddy scholarship.


First, the majority flung about dark warnings of "censorship" and "banned" speech as if upholding the existing rules would leave corporations and labor unions with no voice in the political process. Untrue. Under federal election law before the Supreme Court demolished it, corporations and labor unions were free to say whatever they wanted about political candidates whenever they wanted to say it. They simply were not permitted to use unlimited general treasury funds to do so. Instead, they were required to use money raised by their political action committees from employees and members. This is hardly banning speech.

Second, in the face of logic and history, the majority acted as if there could be no constitutional distinction between a corporation and a human being. Untrue. The Supreme Court has long held that corporations are considered "persons" under the constitution and therefore entitled to its protections. For more than a century, Congress has barred corporations from making direct contributions to political candidates, with no suggestion that it must treat corporate persons the same as real ones; that prohibition stands, at least for now. The "conceit" of corporate personhood, as Stevens called it, does not mandate absolute equivalence.

That corporations enjoy free speech protections does not mean they enjoy every protection afforded an actual person. Is a corporation entitled to vote? To run for office?

Third, misreading its precedents and cherry-picking quotations, the majority acted as if the chief case it overturned was an outlier. In that 1990 case, Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce, a six-member majority came to the unsurprising conclusion that a state law prohibiting corporations from making unlimited independent expenditures from their general funds was constitutional. The court dismissed this ruling as "a significant departure from ancient First Amendment principles." Again, untrue.

In a 1982 case, the court -- in a unanimous opinion by then-Justice William Rehnquist -- noted that Congress, in writing campaign finance law, was entitled to "considerable deference" in taking into account "the particular legal and economic attributes of corporations and labor organizations" and had made "a permissible assessment of the dangers posed by those entities to the electoral process." Four years later, even as it carved out an exception for nonprofit corporations, the court reaffirmed "the need to restrict the influence of political war chests funneled through the corporate form."

The Citizens United majority relied heavily on a 1978 case overturning a Massachusetts law that prohibited corporations from spending their own money to defeat certain referendums. But that case specifically noted that "a corporation's right to speak on issues of general public interest implies no comparable right in the quite different context of participation in a political campaign for election to public office."

Fourth, the majority bizarrely invoked the "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" defense. Under the Austin ruling, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy argued, lawmakers unhappy with being lampooned in the movie "could have done more than discourage its distribution -- they could have banned the film." Beyond untrue. There is no scenario under which works of art about fictional lawmakers could be limited by campaign finance laws.

That the majority would stoop to this claim underscores the weakness of its case -- and the audacity of the result it has inflicted on the political process.


By Ruth Marcus  |  January 22, 2010; 2:17 PM ET
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jofortruth
Posted: Jan 25 2010, 04:04 PM


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QUOTE
Friday, January 22, 2010

The Supreme Court handed down its ruling in Citizens United yesterday. Here is the opinion . . . it's a hunker. There has been a lot written about this opinion. Most of it has been bland, some has been over-enthusiastic, and still other articles have been, well, just wrong.

The Court's opinion spans the gambit of Constitutional analysis when it comes to campaign finance reform within the scope of the First Amendment. For all you law students out there, if you can understand each paragraph of this opinion, you can safely say that you understand constitutional analysis. While it's difficult to give a short summary of the holding (there are many parts of the Court's analysis that are important in their own right), one issue dominates them all.

In 1990, the Court, in a 6-3 decision, decided Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce. In that case, Michigan had prohibited corporations from using general corporate treasury funds for supporting or opposing a candidate for state office. Instead, corporations wishing to support or oppose political candidates had to use segregated funds that were collected amassed only for political purposes.

In Austin, Justice Marshall noted that the "unique legal and economic characteristics of corporations" enable them to use amassed resources in the political sphere in a way that would grant them "unfair" political advantages. Marshall stated that the law intended to stop "the corrosive and distorting effects of immense aggregations of wealth that are accumulated with the help of the corporate form." The Court also wrote that the Michigan law was sufficiently narrow because it was "precisely targeted to eliminate the distortion caused by corporate political spending while also allowing corporations to express their political views" via the segregated funds.

The Court in Citizens United reversed Austin. Writing for the Court, Justice Kennedy (who dissented in Austin along with Justices O'Connor and Scalia) said that the likely effects of undue influence warned against by Justice Marshall are unlikely, if not pure speculation, and do not constitute a compelling rationale for upholding a content-based speech regulation.

Moreover, Kennedy stated that since corporations have traditionally been given the right to "speak," see e.g. Turner I, the First Amendment was fully at issue. Kennedy went on to argue that since corporate political speech must receive full First Amendment protection, the absolute prohibition of such speech 60 (or 30) days before an election, backed by CRIMINAL SANCTIONS, was contrary to the Constitution.

Of course, the court's holding is a bit more complicated. There are issues with the "case in controversy" clause of the Constitution and stare decisis which are explained in depth. However, the above summary is really what some people are up-in-arms about. The Court has now unleashed corporations from special rules regarding political spending.

I have three opinions regarding the Court's decision.

First. While I am unnerved at the idea that Google, Microsoft, or other corporations may now go to Congressmen and Senators with a Godfather type ultimatum, I still support the Court's outcome. As I previously posted, "in my view, the current law, which prohibits corporate speech 30 days before primary elections and 60 days before federal general elections, goes too far." To ban political speech by an entity which is given full First Amendment protections, backed by criminal sanctions, is precisely what the Framers meant to guard against. As Kennedy noted in this case, the issue at hand revolves around political speech, the core of what the First Amendment was intended to protect. See also Justice Scalia, dissenting in Austin.

You may challenge the Court's opinion on the grounds that a corporation should not be considered to have full First Amendment protection. In fact, that is the argument likely to come up once the Federal Communications Commission's Net Neutrality policy comes into effect. However, the idea that corporations are entitled to full First Amendment protections has become an axiom of constitutional law and is unlikely to change.

Second. What about the argument that political spending by corporations must be more regulated than individual spending because corporations are better suited to amass wealth and unduly influence elections?

Implicit in this argument is the idea that the citizenry will not be able to fend off the onslaught of corporate funded electioneering campaigns and will succomb to the will of a TV advertisement. In essence, the above-stated arguments holds the American public to be naive.

I am unwilling to support such an assumption. The basis of the American political system is that the "marketplace of ideas" is the best approach to "free speech." But see Meiklejohn. That means that the only remedy to "bad speech," or corporate speech as some have argued, is more speech. I refuse to assert that the American public is too dumb to figure out what message are right and which one's are wrong. If Google or Microsoft puts on an advertisement campaign that sways voters, so be it. That is the point of a democracy. I believe that voters who see advertisement after advertisement by a corporation for or against a particular candidate will understand what is happening and vote accordingly.

Some may reply that Google and other corporations have so much money to throw behind political advertisements that they will effectively drown-out every other speaker in the "marketplace of ideas," thus skewing it. However, the notion that some speakers must be regulated in order to permit other speakers to be heard has been handily rejected by the Supreme Court. See Buckley v. Valeo (Section C, part I). Moreover, it assumes that when one person speaks, others will not band together to rebut that message. So, if Google puts on an advertisement for a candidate, what is to say that another corporation, or possibly a citizen organization, will not amass the funds needed to effectively reply.

If GE, a corporation, wishes to advertise for or against a particular candidate, I would let them. In turn, if the populous does not agree with that candidate's stance on any or all political issues, they know where not to buy their refrigerator from. A decrease in sales, as a result of GE's political involvement will result in GE's decrease roll in the political system. (I am also skeptical as to whether corporations will actually dive into the political arena head-first. Political favor fluctuates on a daily basis, and I am not sure that is a good thing for corporations' bottom-line.)

Third. That being said, there is a situation worth considering. In an old post, I gave this scenario:

"Candidate A is running for office against candidate B. A has the support of company X, B has the support of the majority of the citizenry in her district. 60 days before the election, candidate A tells company X, "Hey, I'm going to loose this thing. If I loose, so do you. Use you're millions to help me." Company X then spends millions, hundreds of millions saying that electing candidate B will cause terrorists to "win." Lets say this advertisement campaign begins 5 days before the election. The message spreads like wildfire. Candidate B notes how absurd this argument is. Candidate B's many supporters begin to organize a reply, but they're message doesn't have enough time to catch-on, and candidate B's supporters are ashamed to vote for a man since the terrorist label has not been peeled away yet. Candidate A wins."

In that post, I was concerned with the idea that the public, in response to this late political campaign by corporation X, would have a knee-jerk reaction and vote in a particular way without being able to contemplate what they were doing. While this is certainly a concern, I believe that time, place, and manner (TPM) restrictions would be a less intrusive way of guarding against this hypothetical while still insuring the climate for political speech envisioned by the Framers.

Although Kennedy did briefly dismiss the time, place and manner theory in his opinion, he did not foreclose the possibility. Thus, while I agree with the Court's outcome, I do not read the First Amendment to keep the government's hands tied in the scenario described above. Rather, if the FEC were to draft true TPM requirements to guard against the scenario above, I believe they would be held as Constitutional and as comporting with the Court's decision in Citizens United.

Posted by Robert A. Arcamona at 11:47 AM
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jofortruth
Posted: Jan 25 2010, 04:30 PM


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What does this mean for "We the People"?


YOU NEED TO START THINKING FOR YOURSELF, AND START DOING YOUR OWN DUE DILIGENCE WHEN IT COMES TO FIGURING OUT WHO YOU WILL VOTE FOR IN ELECTIONS.

BOTH PARTIES ARE CONTROLLED BY THE SAME ELITES! THUS, WE TRULY ONLY HAVE ONE PARTY, AND IT IS CORRUPT AND OUT OF TOUCH WITH THE PEOPLE OF THIS NATION. THEY HAVE CAVED IN TO THE ELITE NWO CROWD, AND HAVE SERIOUSLY GONE AWRY!

THE TIME HAS COME FOR A MORE INFORMED PUBLIC; A PUBLIC THAT NO LONGER VOTES PARTY LINE, BUT INFORMED.

THE MEDIA HAS GOTTEN BY WITH LYING AND MANIPULATING PEOPLE LONG ENOUGH. IT'S TIME TO SHOW THEM YOU DO HAVE A BRAIN, AND THAT YOU CAN THINK FOR YOURSELVES!

IF YOU CARE ABOUT YOUR COUNTRY AND YOUR FUTURE, YOU WILL DO THIS. IF YOU DON'T, THEN I FEEL SORRY FOR YOU!


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jofortruth
Posted: Feb 10 2010, 02:27 PM


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Dispelling the Top Five Citizens United Decision Myths
http://www.ij.org/index.php?option=com_con...3063&Itemid=165

QUOTE
WEB RELEASE: January 26, 2010
Media Contact:
John Kramer (703) 682-9320

[First Amendment] 
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Arlington, Va.—Let’s take a deep breath, America.  The Citizens United decision, which expanded the free speech rights of people who join together as corporations and unions, won’t usher in the end of the world as we know it despite ranting to the contrary.  Here are some of the biggest overstatements by supporters of campaign finance restrictions and the Institute for Justice’s response.
 
Video: The Campaign Finance Bait & Switch: Fair Elections Now Act
http://www.ij.org/index.php?option=com_con...3043&Itemid=165

Institute’s amicus brief in Citizens United
Citizens United is like Dred Scott

http://www.ij.org/images/pdf_folder/amicus...nal%20brief.pdf

You might think that a judicial decision allowing corporations to spend their own money on their own speech is not quite comparable to upholding slavery, but apparently no criticism is too outlandish for the critics of Citizens United.  According to Florida Representative Alan Grayson, Citizens United “is the worst Supreme Court decision since the Dred Scott case.  It leads us all down the road to serfdom.”  Repeating this claim, Keith Olbermann hyperventilated that Citizens United “might actually have more dire implications than Dred Scott v. Sanford.”

Institute for Justice Senior Attorney Steve Simpson said, “In the strange world occupied by those who accept this absurd argument, Americans will trudge lemming-like off of a cliff, not because they are being driven by slave-masters with whips and chains, but because they cannot resist the clarion call of corporate advertising.  This conclusion is as ridiculous as it is patronizing.  If corporations are capable of making the public do their bidding, then why isn’t everyone drinking New Coke while driving their Edsels to go purchase Betamax video recorders?  The Institute for Justice agrees with the U.S. Supreme Court—and the Framers—that Americans are smart enough to avoid being “enslaved” by corporate advertising, whether of the political or commercial variety.  Representative Grayson and Keith Olbermann might want to ask themselves whether their view of democracy leaves any room for the notion that voters are capable of thinking for themselves.”

Citizens United will allow corporations to buy elections and will ruin our democracy

"The bottom line is, the Supreme Court has just predetermined the winners of next November’s election.  It won’t be the Republican or the Democrats and it won’t be the American people; it will be Corporate America." — Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D–N.Y.)

IJ Senior Attorney Bert Gall said, “Apparently, quite a few of our representatives have absolute contempt for their constituents.  Like the previous claim, this one rests on the notion that if corporations are permitted to speak during elections, the voters will be unable to think for themselves.  The Institute for Justice can’t help recalling Groucho Marx’s line that he wouldn’t want to join any club that would have him as a member.  Could it be that some of our politicians don’t trust voters because they were elected?  In any event, the First Amendment assumes that citizens are able to think and judge the truth for themselves.  The evidence seems to back up that assumption.  Corporate advertising, after all, has not led to uniformity in the commercial realm; it won’t lead to that in the political realm.  But if politicians are concerned about that, they are free to compete in the marketplace of ideas like everyone else.”

The Fair Elections Now Act (FENA) is an appropriate response to CU

“The only comprehensive option available to change the rules of the game in Washington, D.C. would be to embrace a small donor/public funding of elections model like the ‘Fair Elections Now Act’ (S. 752, H.R.1826).” — David Donnelly, National Campaigns Director, Common Cause

Bill Maurer, IJ Washington Chapter’s executive director, said, “The ruling in Citizens United means precisely one thing:  More organizations are now free to engage in independent political speech.  The campaign finance clique’s bizarre response to this supposed ‘problem’ of expanded free speech rights is to spend the taxpayers’ money on a bailout for politicians.  This argument, however, is nothing but pure opportunism on the part of organizations that have been pushing taxpayer-funded elections—which is nothing more than a political version of “cash for clunkers”—for years.  (For a brief video on FENA, visit:  www.ij.org/FENAvideo.)  Taxpayer-funded elections have always been a bad idea, and there’s nothing about the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United that changes that.”

Citizens United is judicial activism that overturned 100 years of judicial precedents

"The Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision holding that corporations and unions can spend unlimited amounts of money in election campaigns is a stunning example of judicial activism by its five most conservative justices.”
— Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean, University of California, Irvine School of Law

IJ Staff Attorney Paul Sherman said, “Citizens United was a straightforward application of basic First Amendment principles.  The First Amendment protects both the right to speak and the right to associate, and the government cannot compel any association of people—even corporations or unions—to surrender their right to speak.  There is nothing “activist” about enforcing the clear commands of the Constitution.  Indeed, protecting these rights from government infringement is the judiciary’s highest purpose.”

Sherman continued, “Moreover, Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce, which the Court overruled in Citizens United, was based on a rationale—that the government can “level the playing field” by reducing the ability of some groups to speak effectively—that the Court had consistently rejected in earlier decisions, including its first major campaign finance case, Buckley v. Valeo.  Since Austin, the Court has consistently rejected that rationale when the government has advanced it as a reason to restrict speech.  Thus, in overruling Austin, the Court was eliminating an aberration in its First Amendment jurisprudence.  In doing so, it was following a long tradition of overruling precedents (such as Plessy v. Ferguson and Bowers v. Hardwick) that wrongly diminished, rather than protected, constitutional rights.”

Sherman concluded, “Likewise, when Fred Wertheimer, president of Democracy 21, claimed ‘With a stroke of the pen, five Justices wiped out a century of American history devoted to preventing corporate corruption of our democracy,’ this complaint was simply wrong on the history.  Although corporations have been prevented from making contributions to political candidates since 1907, it was not until 1990 that the U.S. Supreme Court considered whether it would be constitutional to uphold limits on corporate and union spending on independent political speech.  The Court upheld those restrictions by a narrow 5-4 vote in Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce, but Austin was hardly a bedrock of constitutional law.  Indeed, it was the first time in our nation’s history that the Supreme Court had sanctioned a limit on independent political speech.  By reversing Austin, the Supreme Court has corrected this error, and brought the protection of corporate and union speech back in line with that of other groups.”

Corporations are not people so they have no free speech rights

“Most wrongheaded of all is its insistence that corporations are just like people and entitled to the same First Amendment rights.  It is an odd claim since companies are creations of the state that exist to make money.”  — “The Court’s Blow to Democracy,” New York Times Editorial

Institute for Justice Staff Attorney Robert Frommer said, “True, corporations are not people.  But they are made up of people, like every other association—from partnerships, to marriages, to neighborhood groups, to nonprofits, and all the way up to the New York Times.  If individuals have the right to speak, then they have the right to join with others to speak, whether they join with one person or 10,000.  Associating with others is a very effective means of speaking out, just as it is an effective means of doing virtually everything else.  Take away cooperative effort and the money necessary to fund it, and the New York Times would be nothing more than a pamphlet being published in someone’s garage.  As Chief Justice Roberts said in his concurrence, ‘The First Amendment protects more than just the individual on a soapbox and the lonely pamphleteer.’”

For more information, visit www.ij.org/FirstAmendment.

IJ’s Citizens United brief is available at www.ij.org/citizensunited.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qZVQD0rAGkk...player_embedded




EVERYONE HAS AN OPINION! WHAT'S YOUR OPINION ON THIS CASE? EVERYONE SHOULD READ IT!
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