SCOTUS Free Speech ruling, Hysteria, and ATS

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posted on Jan, 30 2010 @ 05:45 PM
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It never ceases to amaze me how easily a group of people can be excited into a hysterical mob.

This hysteria usually begins with an event, which is then reported (spun) by the MSM (BOO! Main Stream Media! BOO!) to fit that media’s agenda.

The result is the populace all up in a tither.

Of course that only applies to the common people, the “sheeple”, the unenlightened masses.

It doesn’t apply to us here in the ATS community, right?

The majority of us here are intelligent, critical thinkers who pride ourselves on finding the truth, searching out the real implications, the real truth.

This is why I don’t understand the hysteria that has overtaken much of the ATS community regarding the recent Supreme Court decision regarding corporate spending and elections.

First off, I am not some corporate shill that believes corporate spending in elections is a positive thing.

I am not.

I am, however, someone who has taken the time to read the decision.

I can only assume that many in the ATS community have not read the decision, and have rather let the MSM, as well as other media outlets form their opinions.

The recent ruling changes very little about how corporations will affect our elections.

A history of the events leading to the ruling by the SCOTUS:




Citizens United is a nonprofit corporation. It brought this action in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.

In January 2008, Citizens United released a film entitled Hillary: The Movie. We refer to the film as Hillary. It is a 90-minute documentary about then-Senator Hillary Clinton, who was a candidate in the Democratic Party’s 2008 Presidential primary elections.
Hillary mentions Senator Clinton by name and depicts interviews with political commentators and other persons, most of them quite critical of Senator Clinton.


and



In December 2007, a cable company offered, for a payment of $1.2 million, to make Hillary available on a video-on-demand channel called “Elections ’08.”

To implement the proposal, Citizens United was prepared to pay for the video-on-demand; and to promote the film, it produced two 10-second ads and one 30-second ad for Hillary.
Each ad includes a short (and, in our view, pejorative) statement about Senator Clinton, followed by the name of the movie and the movie’s Website address. Id., at 26a–27a.
Citizens United desired to promote the video-on-demand offering by running advertisements on broadcast and cable television.


This however was found to be illegal, in that:



federal law prohibited—and still does prohibit—corporations and unions from using general treasury funds to make direct contributions to candidates or independent expenditures
that expressly advocate the election or defeat of a candidate, through any form of media, in connection with certain qualified federal elections.


So, here we have a non-profit corporation that wanted to air a video they had produced, but couldn’t, due to the fact that it mentioned a candidate by name, and would be produced by the corporation, rather than a Political Action Committee set up by this corporation.

Prior to this ruling, and had this corporation set up a PAC, all would have been fine.




Corporations and unions are barred from using their general treasury funds for express advocacy or electioneering communications.
They may establish, however, a “separate segregated fund” (known as a political action committee, or PAC) for these purposes. 2
U. S. C. §441b(b)(2).


Corporations and unions may establish a political action committee (PAC) for express advocacy or electioneering communications purposes. 2 U. S. C. §441b(b)(2). In McConnell v. Federal Election Comm’n, 540 U. S. 93, 203–209, this Court upheld limits on electioneering communications in a facial challenge, relying on the holding in Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce, 494 U. S. 652,

that political speech may be banned based on the speaker’s corporate identity.


This, essentially, is what has been changed by the SCOTUS recent ruling.
It has basically removed the need for a corp. to establish a PAC for electioneering.

It has not allowed for “Communist China” to enter a candidate in an election.
It has not changed laws to now allow Murray Hill, Inc. to run for President.

Here is a link to the entire decision by the SCOTUS for anyone who wishes to find out for themselves,
rather than blindly follow others into a state of hysteria.
Link to SCOTUS decision




posted on Jan, 30 2010 @ 07:26 PM
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It seems that many people would rather believe the hype if it fits what they want to believe in (conspiracies) rather than the truth, if the truth is somewhat boring.



posted on Jan, 30 2010 @ 07:32 PM
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You might have read the ruling, but you do not fully grasp the concept of how one single minute ruling can open the floodgates for other implications.

Yes, the ruling might have been in a relatively benign case, but this ruling does make it possible for any corporation, including foreign entities to donate unrestricted to campaigns.

Sorry, but this court ruling really was horrible and will destroy the last remnants left of separation between corporation and state...

I'm not a lawyer, but my dad is. He even writes a law book (although in a different field), and understands the implications of a single ruling. He's furious about the decision too.



posted on Jan, 30 2010 @ 07:42 PM
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usgovinfo.about.com...

Individuals(PEOPLE)

If you decide to contribute to a political candidate, you should know that the Federal Campaign Finance Law places legal limits on how much and what you can give. Representatives of the candidate's campaign committee should be aware of these laws and inform you of them. But, just in case...

Individual contribution limits for 2009-2010

The following limits apply to contributions from individuals to candidates for all Federal offices.

•$2,400 per Election to a Federal candidate -- Each primary, runoff, and general election counts as a separate election.
•$30,400 per calendar year to a national party committee -- applies separately to a party's national committee, and House and Senate campaign committee.
•$10,000 per calendar year to state, district & local party committees
•$5,000 per calendar year to state, district & local party committee
Aggregate Total -- $115,500 per two-year election cycle as follows:

•$45,600 per two-year cycle to candidates
•$69,000 per two-year cycle to all national party committees and PACs


So people are limited.

Corporations were limited until now.


Can anybody contribute?

Certain individuals, businesses, and associations are prohibited from making contributions to Federal candidates or political committees.

Corporations and Labor Unions -- are also prohibited form contributing. This law applies to all incorporated organizations, profit or non-profit. Business owners are not allowed to make contributions from their business accounts. Although corporations and labor organizations may not make contributions or expenditures in connection with federal elections, they may establish PACs.


Erase all that. Corporations can spend unlimited amounts.

All you are saying is that the Supreme Court just made it easier for corporations to buy their candidate.

Am I correct?

[edit on 30-1-2010 by tooo many pills]



posted on Jan, 30 2010 @ 07:51 PM
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Originally posted by seattletruth
You might have read the ruling, but you do not fully grasp the concept of how one single minute ruling can open the floodgates for other implications.

Yes, the ruling might have been in a relatively benign case, but this ruling does make it possible for any corporation, including foreign entities to donate unrestricted to campaigns.


Untrue.
From page 47 of the actual decision, or page 54 of the PDF



We need not reach the question whether the Government has a compelling interest in preventing foreign individuals or associations from influencing our Nation’s political process.


What that means is that they have not touched on the question of foriegn involvement.
Nothing changed in that respect.
Also, from the Boston Herald:



President Barack Obama and other critics say the court’s decision to let corporations spend their money to directly influence elections opened the floodgates to foreign involvement.

That was a step too far. At the moment, foreign corporations may not spend any money in U.S. elections under a provision of federal election law that was untouched by the high court.

The court’s majority opinion by Justice Anthony Kennedy specifically left for another day "whether the government has a compelling interest in preventing foreign individuals or associations from influencing our nation’s political process.


Link to article

And this is my point, anyone who hasn't read the decision, lawyer or not, is as informed as the next person who has not read the decision.



posted on Jan, 30 2010 @ 08:00 PM
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Free elections are one big scam regardless of what the Supreme Court states. Wasn't this the same court who was also responsible for putting one of America's least popular and most inept presidents into office? In other words, they're full of crap.



posted on Jan, 30 2010 @ 08:03 PM
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Correct me if I am wrong.

but a Supreme Court decision stating that a law is unconstitutional is not the end all.

It is merely saying that the law as written by legislators was not in accordance with the US Constitution.

Therefore, it is up to Congress to decide if they want to give up on the issue or write another law concerning the issue that will meet the Supreme Courts standards.

Do they really want to do it is another question?



posted on Jan, 30 2010 @ 08:06 PM
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reply to post by SphinxMontreal
 


No there are 3 new supreme court justices since the 2000 election.



posted on Jan, 30 2010 @ 08:10 PM
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reply to post by tooo many pills
 





Erase all that.

Corporations can spend unlimited amounts.

All you are saying is that the Supreme Court just made it easier for corporations to buy their candidate.

Am I correct?


Not entirely correct.
The site that you posted from sets limits on who can contribute what, to whom, for the years 2009-2010.

The Supreme Court ruling did nothing to change these amounts.

The ruling did remove the need for a corporation to form a PAC, but keep in mind that massive corporations like Exxon, Verizon, etc. are not the norm.

Jim, the barber down the street is likely a corporation.

The carpenter across the street, union or not, is likely a corporation.

I ask you, which corporation is more likely to have the legal and financial ability to form a PAC.
Verizon or Jim the barber?



posted on Jan, 30 2010 @ 08:34 PM
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Originally posted by jam321
Correct me if I am wrong.

but a Supreme Court decision stating that a law is unconstitutional is not the end all.

It is merely saying that the law as written by legislators was not in accordance with the US Constitution.

Therefore, it is up to Congress to decide if they want to give up on the issue or write another law concerning the issue that will meet the Supreme Courts standards.

Do they really want to do it is another question?


Right, Congress can write any law they want, the Supreme Court just decides whether it's "Constitutional" according to their interpretation of the seemingly clear (to me, at least) Constitution of the United States of America.

Now, whether Congress would ever actually write a law limiting the amount of money corporations could give to, say, Congress?

Well, you can interpret the reality of that ever happening.



posted on Jan, 30 2010 @ 08:53 PM
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reply to post by Oaktree
 


I was pointing out that people have a limit.

Jim the barber isn't a publicly traded company. Huge corporations may not be the norm but they have the majority of the money.

I never said the ruling removed these amounts. People and citizens are still subject to this law. Are corporations?

How much are corporations allowed to spend now?

It would seem corporations are now above citizens/people.

[edit on 30-1-2010 by tooo many pills]



posted on Jan, 30 2010 @ 09:09 PM
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Bravo Oaktree!

I still hold the impression that very little here have actually read the decision. Have gone deeper to understand what the Anti-distortion laws were doing and how 441b was in effect, a law created by Congress to stifle free-speech...going directly against the 1st Amendment.

Instead it is much easier to jump on board and scream that corporations are going to take over the world and soon we will be voting for Ronald McDonald.

When truth is the only thing reversed is 441b and the limit on when someone can engage in political speech, the very notion and reason behind the 1st Amendment!

Foreign contributions laws: Still intact
No corporate contributions directly to a candidate: Still intact

Yes a corporation can buy advertisement as to support or disparage a candidate but guess what....IT IS UP TO YOU TO DECIDE TO LISTEN OR NOT.

The lack of personal responsibility in this country is what is failing...



posted on Jan, 30 2010 @ 09:37 PM
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reply to post by tooo many pills
 


Well, it is this confusion I'm trying to clear up.

The limits, or lack of, on corporaions and individuals has not changed, for better or worse.

Corporations are now allowed to spend exactly what they were allowed to spend prior to this ruling.
The corporations are not any higher above individuals now than they were prior.

I, like most people, feel that lobbyists and the corporations that employ them have far to much sway over our government.

There is no disagreement there.

The point of this thread is simply to point out that this particular ruling affected none of that.

Perhaps that is what the uproar ought to be over.



posted on Jan, 30 2010 @ 09:48 PM
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reply to post by ownbestenemy
 


Thank you for being one who has taken the time to understand this decision.

Without people being informed and involved, the people will constantly be fooled.



The lack of personal responsibility in this country is what is failing...

And while yes, this is entirely true, another thing lacking in our country was forseen years ago.



God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion. The people cannot be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented, in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions, it is lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty.... And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to the facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.
Thomas Jefferson



posted on Jan, 31 2010 @ 12:35 PM
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reply to post by Oaktree
 



The limits, or lack of, on corporaions and individuals has not changed, for better or worse.
Corporations are now allowed to spend exactly what they were allowed to spend prior to this ruling.
The corporations are not any higher above individuals now than they were prior.


But that was the Supreme Court's arguement for the ruling on this case. The corporatons insisted that their rights were being suppressed because they had to make a PAC to give money to candidates. Was there a limit on the amount of money that they could give in these PACs? Probably not.

People's rights are being suppressed because they have a LIMIT on how much they can spend on the candidate of their choice.

Isn't that the samething the corporations were saying?

If corporations want the same rights as human beings then they are subject to the limits all of us are subject to. (I listed them in my first post)

Are they? How much can they spend? What are their limits?


CORPORATIONS OVER HUMANS

Corporations
_____________

Humans




[edit on 31-1-2010 by tooo many pills]



posted on Feb, 1 2010 @ 03:28 AM
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The good thing about corporations over people, is it still means that CORPORATIONS can be divided by PEOPLE.

And that's something we need to do to some of them, IMO.



posted on Feb, 1 2010 @ 03:35 AM
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Originally posted by hadriana
The good thing about corporations over people, is it still means that CORPORATIONS can be divided by PEOPLE.

And that's something we need to do to some of them, IMO.


There you go Hadriana! Now you're on the right track. Celebrate both the victory that the Supreme Court help up as sacrosanct the freedom of speech and celebrate your own inherent political power and know that you are absolutely correct and that we the people can demand revocations of corporate charters granted by states within the Union.



posted on Feb, 1 2010 @ 03:39 AM
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How can a corporation be non-profit?



posted on Feb, 1 2010 @ 03:44 AM
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Originally posted by Darky5K
How can a corporation be non-profit?


A corporation is no more than a legal entity, granted statutory existence by either state or nation, and while business corporations are the most common forms of corporations, the existence of a corporation does not mean a profit making company, it is instead intended to separate the persons who operate the corporation, from any liability incurred by the corporation.



posted on Feb, 1 2010 @ 01:06 PM
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reply to post by Jean Paul Zodeaux
 


Exactly corporations have limited liability, which means the people that run the corporation aren't liable for the debt or evil a corporation produces. So the people that run a corporation can let their evil or greed show through the corporation. They will not face the consequences for doing what is good for their business but bad for the rest of us.

I still think this ruling is a terrible thing. When you have Obama and a majority of FOX agreeing on something maybe you should demand something be done as well.





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