Justice Alito Defends Citizens United Ruling At High Dollar Banquet - Elitism In The Open!

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posted on Nov, 17 2012 @ 06:02 AM
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Hello once again ATS.

A few minutes ago I came across an AP news story, a couple of hours old, that bites as my sensibilities and has led me to want to share some thoughts upon what I see as a very divisive and important issue in our current society - the fallout of the Supreme Court ruling known as Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. A subject discussed last night at a private dinner at which Justice Alito was a speaker.

For those who are not family with Citizens United v. Federal Election Committee, the crux of the argument boiled down to the following issue:

That corporations, being comprised of groups of individuals, are inherently entitled to freedom of speech. One of the main arguments involved was that media outlets, such as television and radio networks, and print media can exercise this "right" through selective reporting and editorialization- so why shouldn't other types of corporations have similar avenues of expression through the use of their financial power.

This is a brief and simplistic summary, but one that I think represents the core issue.

In the real world we've all recently experienced the fallout of Citizens United v. Federal Election Committee ( and at least one other finding by a lesser court ) in the appearance of those pesky Super PACs ( Political Action Committees )... those wonderful folks with seemingly bottomless war chests and not much concern about how accurate their ads are - or how positive of a message they may or may not contain.

In short, what Citizens United v. Federal Elections Committee accomplished was to say that since YOU, as an American have a right to political opinion and activism, then corporations should also have the same right.

The problems inherent to this are immediately obvious. Most of us do not have millions or billions of dollars that we are willing to toss into mudslinging political ads. Most of us - regular citizens - aren't multinational in nature - conflicted by a need to make all of our masters happy at once. You or I might base our votes upon things like how well our local infrastructure is working. Or upon our local property values. Or even upon our religious convictions and whether or not they are being properly respected by law and legislation. Most of us don't have a motive to base our politics upon trade levels with China - or whether or not labor happens to be cheaper in India. These multinational corporations, however do.

So the court has afforded these corporations a freedom - a right - that was legally given to the People, NOT to corporate entities and especially not to corporate entities with inherent foreign interests.

Oh, and now that money has been back-doored into the notion of free speech? Well, even collectively, we are left on the losing end of this battle - as our collective net worth still wouldn't match that of just the top 2 or 3 multinationals.

But, so be it. The die is cast, and until we can persuade the policy makers to change the rules, we are stuck with this situation.

From the article:


Alito told roughly 1,500 people at a Federalist Society dinner this week that the First Amendment protects political speech, whether from an individual or a corporation. His comments to the overwhelmingly conservative and Republican crowd were part of his broader analysis of arguments put forth by the Obama administration in recent years that Alito said would curtail individual freedoms in favor of stronger federal power.

"The question is whether speech that goes to the very heart of government should be limited to certain preferred corporations; namely, media corporations," he said. "Surely the idea that the First Amendment protects only certain privileged voices should be disturbing to anybody who believes in free speech."

Source

Reread that carefully and see where the battlefield really lay. Notice the exclusion of the term "The People". Alito sees it as a war between big government and big business. His beef seems to be only that media companies have a more effective means of influencing government than do other corporations.

Let me reiterate... We, The People aren't even in the mix here.

In my opinion, media - often referred to as the Fourth Estate is a two edged sword - one that often works against us, but can also be the greatest weapon we have in defending ourselves from tyranny. Even today - as exemplified by ATS, Twitter, Youtube, Facebook, and a myriad of other incarnations - media can empower us as easily as it can mislead us. In fact print media was one of the primary tools in the Revolution that created this great nation. I am aware that many in the halls of ATS dismiss all media as a mind control tool. To them I say that it is a tool and can be as productive as it can be destructive.

My preference here, between media and other corporations is also based in transparency and the potential for feedback. Simply put, if a news program, newspaper, commentary show, or magazine seeks too fervently to manipulate me, I have the option of ceasing to interact with it. I have the power of choice and discernment. But these Super PACS? Just finding out who finances them is an involved process - and there is no recourse even if we do know who is paying for them. It's not like we can just change the channel and make them go away. They don't care about ratings, advertising dollars, or view feedback. They function independent of public opinion. In fact they only exist TO alter that opinion.

President Obama - whether you agree with him or not - had this to say about Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission in a State of The Union Address:


At President Barack Obama's State of the Union address soon after the court's ruling in January 2010, the president said the court "reversed a century of law that I believe will open the floodgates for special interests - including foreign corporations - to spend without limit in our elections."


Though Justice Alito famously mouthed the words "Not true" after hearing those words, I believe those words to be painfully true and accurate. We have just witnessed it in this past election cycle - the most divisive and detrimental election cycle in living memory. It is my belief that the money from Super PACS were the number one factor in creating the emotional furor which will historically define the year of 2012 in future history books.

For a sitting Supreme Court Justice to make these statements at a $175.00 per plate dinner is, in my opinion unethical. Justices attending fund raising events is against their code of ethics. In this case the hosts of the dinner say that they lost money on the dinner and that, therefore, it cannot be construed as fundraising. By their own numbers they made $262,500 for that one night. I hardly believe they lost money.

What say you ATS? Should corporations have this much say in the Democratic process? Should the elitists really be able to flaunt it this much?

Justice Samuel Alito Wiki
Citizen United v. Federal Election Commission Wiki
Federalist Society Wiki

~Heff
edit on 11/17/12 by Hefficide because: (no reason given)
edit on 11/17/12 by Hefficide because: (no reason given)




posted on Nov, 17 2012 @ 06:58 AM
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This is a prime example of a bad court decision based on a few horrible laws. Under Reagan the FCC became a heavily politicized organization that destroyed older prohibitions against cross-media ownership whereby people couldn't own both tv stations and newspapers. This is when people like Rupert Murdoch got their start buying up every last source of news available. Investigative journalism took it's last blow with the Telecommunications Act of 1996 which was touted as promoting "competition" ::cough::
That was the law that killed radio allowing Clearchannel to buy up all the radio stations and it wasn't long before creative music went by the wayside in favor of pop-flavored garbage.

Before 1980 there were over 500 different owners of tv and print media, today it's down to 5 which all more or less parrot the same story lines albeit with a choice of "flavors" (left or right).
So, based on the fact that only a few people control the mass media Citizens United gets a free pass to shovel money to any candidate they choose. I'm sure that will enhance diversity and freedom of choice.

The FCC used to issue licenses to serve the public interest.
No longer are there set limits on advertising nor is there a mandate to require editorial rebuttals or even issue spots for community programming.

There even was competition between newswire services but that's no longer since Reuters went under.
Without the internet the US and Europe would be living under overt fascism I have little doubt.
Good thread Heff - this is important stuff indeed.
edit on 17-11-2012 by Asktheanimals because: corrections



posted on Nov, 17 2012 @ 06:58 AM
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A nice read on a disgusting subject.

This Citizens United thing just sucks. I don't know what else to say. The corporate interest absolutely has to be wrenched from our political processes. I realize that it would be like extracting the alien parasite and likely kill the host, but in the end who wants to live with parasites.

There should be activism everywhere screaming about this. Not just say "silly politicians" and move on.



posted on Nov, 17 2012 @ 07:26 AM
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Originally posted by Asktheanimals
This is a prime example of a bad court decision based on a few horrible laws. Under Reagan the FCC became a heavily politicized organization that destroyed older prohibitions against cross-media ownership whereby people couldn't own both tv stations and newspapers. This is when people like Rupert Murdoch got their start buying up every last source of news available. Investigative journalism took it's last blow with the Telecommunications Act of 1996 which was touted as promoting "competition" ::cough::
That was the law that killed radio allowing Clearchannel to buy up all the radio stations and it wasn't long before creative music went by the wayside in favor of pop-flavored garbage.

Before 1980 there were over 500 different owners of tv and print media, today it's down to 5 which all more or less parrot the same story lines albeit with a choice of "flavors" (left or right).
So, based on the fact that only a few people control the mass media Citizens United gets a free pass to shovel money to any candidate they choose. I'm sure that will enhance diversity and freedom of choice.

The FCC used to issue licenses to serve the public interest.
No longer are there set limits on advertising nor is there a mandate to require editorial rebuttals or even issue spots for community programming.

There even was competition between newswire services but that's no longer since Reuters went under.
Without the internet the US and Europe would be living under overt fascism I have little doubt.
Good thread Heff - this is important stuff indeed.
edit on 17-11-2012 by Asktheanimals because: corrections


You make some seriously excellent points here. But you forgot about how we the people spent a fortune to break up AT&T into the baby bells. Only to now have AT&T not only reclaim the baby bells but now expanding into the cellular markets. Inside of 20 years they will once again be a full blown monopoly and not just on their way to becoming one.



posted on Nov, 17 2012 @ 07:50 AM
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reply to post by Hefficide
 


I must respectfully disagree with the position taken here by the OP.
Just to clarify the record - the decision was a good one and was a clear victory for proponents of the integrity of the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights - it was not about money it was about freedom of speech. Thank God Citizens United prevailed.
If Wikipedia is good for anything its this kind of accurate information:

Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 U.S. 310 (2010), was a landmark United States Supreme Court case in which the Court held that the First Amendment prohibited the government from restricting independent political expenditures by corporations and unions. The nonprofit group Citizens United wanted to air a film critical of Hillary Clinton and to advertise the film during television broadcasts in apparent violation of the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (commonly known as the McCain–Feingold Act or "BCRA").[2] In a 5–4 decision, the Court held that portions of BCRA §203 violated the First Amendment.

The decision reached the Supreme Court on appeal from a July 2008 decision by the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Section 203 of BCRA defined an "electioneering communication" as a broadcast, cable, or satellite communication that mentioned a candidate within 60 days of a general election or 30 days of a primary, and prohibited such expenditures by corporations and unions. The lower court held that §203 of BCRA applied and prohibited Citizens United from advertising the film Hillary: The Movie in broadcasts or paying to have it shown on television within 30 days of the 2008 Democratic primaries.[1][3] The Supreme Court reversed, striking down those provisions of BCRA that prohibited corporations (including nonprofit corporations) and unions from spending on "electioneering communications".[2]

The decision overruled Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce (1990) and partially overruled McConnell v. Federal Election Commission (2003).[4] The Court, however, upheld requirements for public disclosure by sponsors of advertisements (BCRA §201 and §311). The case did not involve the federal ban on direct contributions from corporations or unions to candidate campaigns or political parties, which remain illegal in races for federal office.[5]


edit on 17-11-2012 by Valedictorian because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 17 2012 @ 10:53 AM
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reply to post by Valedictorian
 


Sorry I vehemently disagree: constitutional protection of human rights are for the PEOPLE!
Show me how a corporate entity can speak for itself - without using PEOPLE of course it cannot be accomplished.
Show me how to punish a corporation (not the people involved in the corporation) for murder or other violent criminal acts - this also cannot be accomplished. Fines and fees you say (BP $4.5billion)? Really!
The constitution is very protective of contracts and agreements in the business world (as amended).
Attributing HUMAN rights to CORPORATE entities is a travesty and injurious to the dignity of all humankind.

ganjoa



posted on Nov, 17 2012 @ 10:58 AM
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So when Obama wants to protect the well being and living expense for the middle and lower income families, it is considered "gifts".
-When Romney and GOP elected officials want to create and expand tax breaks for the 2% of individuals and corporations, Trillion dollar unnecessary contracts for the military, it's considered "birthright for the elite".

Got it


 
Posted Via ATS Mobile: m.abovetopsecret.com
 



posted on Nov, 17 2012 @ 11:17 AM
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reply to post by Hefficide
 


Justice Alito is a brilliant man...and an indisputable right-wing idealogue.

His opinion is faulted at it's foundation and frankly it is terrifying that he is intelligent enough to know this and yet chooses to continue to defend his idealogical ruling to further an idealogical agenda.

A corporation is a legal entity specifically constructed and designed for a profit motive. It is NOT "people"....people invest thier money in a legal construct (corporation) precisely becuase it is a corporation/legal construct with a pure profit motive vs. a "person". That legal construct exists for the exact purpose to differentiate itself from people....liability and profit ad nuaseum.

Aside from that fundemental flaw...he does not differentiate money from speech. In a democracy where they are one in the same, the poor have no voice and the wealthy have loudspeakers...money is not speech.

Lastly ...it is hypocritical for a Justice that champions States Rights to federally enforce citizens untied on states that have chosen to limit corporate influence on thier local elections...

In a Red state no less..

Supreme Court’s Montana decision strengthens Citizens United


The Supreme Court has struck down a Montana ban on corporate political money, ruling 5 to 4 that the controversial 2010 Citizens United ruling applies to state and local elections.

The court broke in American Tradition Partnership v. Bullock along the same lines as in the original Citizens United case, when the court ruled that corporate money is speech and thus corporations can spend unlimited amounts on elections.

“The question presented in this case is whether the holding of Citizens United applies to the Montana state law,” the majority wrote. “There can be no serious doubt that it does.”

No arguments were heard; it was a summary reversal.

“To the extent that there was any doubt from the original Citizens United decision broadly applies to state and local laws, that doubt is now gone,” said Marc Elias, a Democratic campaign lawyer. “To whatever extent that door was open a crack, that door is now closed.”

A 1912 Montana law barred direct corporate contributions to political parties and candidates — a response to the election interference of “copper kings.” Mark Twain wrote of one such mining giant in 1907, Sen. William Clark (D), “He is said to have bought legislatures and judges as other men buy food and raiment. By his example he has so excused and so sweetened corruption that in Montana it no longer has an offensive smell.”

www.washingtonpost.com...

Montana citizens who were very proud of thier uncorrupt elections have been slapped down by the supreme court and this past election outside money flooded the state.

Very sad...
edit on 17-11-2012 by Indigo5 because: (no reason given)
edit on 17-11-2012 by Indigo5 because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 17 2012 @ 11:28 AM
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reply to post by ganjoa
 


Amen to that Ganjoa. Look at BP here recently; oh they paid a heavy fine for the Deepwater disaster but to who? - the government! It was the people of the Gulf Coast - the fishermen, the tourist industry, etc who lost money but it's the government who gets paid instead.
Then to top it off the government turns around and gives the money back to BP with subsidies and tax breaks! IT'S A SHAM OF JUSTICE, A SHOW TO MAKE THE PUBLIC THINK JUSTICE WAS SERVED.

It's rare that corporations are ever called to account for their illegal acts, if you steal a 6pack you go to jail, if a corporation destroys the Gulf of Mexico they play an elaborate shell game where they lose nothing and nobody goes to jail, even though 11 men died.

We The People has been twisted to grease the wheels for big money plain and simple.
Maybe we need to declare ourselves corporations.
edit on 17-11-2012 by Asktheanimals because: added comment



posted on Nov, 17 2012 @ 11:34 AM
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posted on Nov, 17 2012 @ 12:04 PM
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Originally posted by Indigo5
A corporation is a legal entity specifically constructed and designed for a profit motive. It is NOT "people"....people invest thier money in a legal construct (corporation) precisely becuase it is a corporation/legal construct with a pure profit motive vs. a "person". That legal construct exists for the exact purpose to differentiate itself from people....liability and profit ad nuaseum.

Aside from that fundemental flaw...he does not differentiate money from speech. In a democracy where they are one in the same, the poor have no voice and the wealthy have loudspeakers...money is not speech.


So, by your logic, news corporations like CNN, NBC, CBS, fox, New York Times, and all the rest should be legally forbid from mentioning anything political.They are not just corporations that speak out on the occasional basis with little to no profit coming from it. They are corporations that are designed to make all of their money by speaking out.

They are all corporations. They are all in business to make money.

What gives those corporations that hold the moniker of “media” the right to influence the public landscape for a profit, that other corps do not have?

Freedom of the press assures the media, corporation, person, or group of people the right to use the printing press that they own to disseminate information.

It does not mater if that corporation is using that printing press in it’s capacity as a news corporation, or as any other form of a corporation.

The position against that decision is highly illogical on all fronts.
edit on 17-11-2012 by Mr Tranny because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 17 2012 @ 12:16 PM
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i think there is a very real answer to this... a corporation's individual humans have speech, as per the constitution. a corporation is a written set of rules and regulations for the operation of a business. the corporation is not human, therefore it is not protected by the bill of rights. this is why i regard alito and the rest that ruled in favor of citizens united as not having sound judicial standing, and should be impeached from the court.



posted on Nov, 17 2012 @ 12:29 PM
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Originally posted by jimmyx
i think there is a very real answer to this... a corporation's individual humans have speech, as per the constitution. a corporation is a written set of rules and regulations for the operation of a business. the corporation is not human, therefore it is not protected by the bill of rights. this is why i regard alito and the rest that ruled in favor of citizens united as not having sound judicial standing, and should be impeached from the court.


A set of rules and regulations that make no mention of the ability to speak, or lack there of.

News corporations like CNN follow that same set of rules and regulations for running a business. Do they have no right to speak? Do they have no right to use a print press?



posted on Nov, 17 2012 @ 01:00 PM
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so, a corporation is a person. tell me then, who is going to prison for the deaths of 11 oil workers from the bp accident two years ago? or the 2 men who died two days ago on another platform? who went to prison for the thousands of deaths from the bhopal tragedy? will it be the c.e.o.? the stock holders? or will it be the plant manager? any one? didn't think so.

terrible decision by terrible people that benefits only a few!



posted on Nov, 17 2012 @ 01:11 PM
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When I see a corporation arrested and jailed I might change my mind. Yes to be a citizen of a country you must be protected, but also be prosecuted under the laws fairly. I do not see this on a corporate scale, so I conclude that they are not people.

Corporations also can not be registered to, or participate in an election. They can buy ads, they can sway public opinion, they can flat out lie, but they can not cast a vote in a corporate name.

Corporations are not born, nor do they die, they do not think, they do not posses the cerebral responses as specified by the court to possess " life".

This list could go on and on.



posted on Nov, 17 2012 @ 01:26 PM
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Originally posted by blackthorne
tell me then, who is going to prison for the deaths of 11 oil workers from the bp accident two years ago?


Why, it’s quite obvious. If something is done that is wrong, by a group of people. Then the people in that group that was responsible for initiating, or causing that “wrong act” will be held responsible.

If the entire group of people were complicit, then the entire group will be held responsible. If it is just one or two in the group that initiated the action, then those people, and those people alone, will be the ones facing the burden.

www.foxnews.com...

And two key people that made decisions that led to the disaster will be held responsible.

And vice versa. If it is proven that no one in the group intentionally instigated the accident. Or no one done anything that they could have reasonably anticipated would cause such an incident. Also known as a true faultless accident, or an act of god. Then no one will be held responsible, because no one is.



posted on Nov, 17 2012 @ 01:41 PM
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Originally posted by Mr Tranny

Originally posted by jimmyx
i think there is a very real answer to this... a corporation's individual humans have speech, as per the constitution. a corporation is a written set of rules and regulations for the operation of a business. the corporation is not human, therefore it is not protected by the bill of rights. this is why i regard alito and the rest that ruled in favor of citizens united as not having sound judicial standing, and should be impeached from the court.


A set of rules and regulations that make no mention of the ability to speak, or lack there of.

News corporations like CNN follow that same set of rules and regulations for running a business. Do they have no right to speak? Do they have no right to use a print press?


of course they do, but they too, should not be allowed to put money into one candidates election fund. the CEO of EXXON can come on any media program and say he will be voting for "john smith" and give the reasons he believes that way, and he has the freedom to put his own personal money into the election fund of any candidate...however he should be barred from handing over { investors (owners) of said corporations} money to "john smith"..... the investors (owners) gave him money to make them profits, and they might disagree with his personal political choice.



posted on Nov, 17 2012 @ 01:49 PM
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Originally posted by Seiko
When I see a corporation arrested and jailed I might change my mind. Yes to be a citizen of a country you must be protected, but also be prosecuted under the laws fairly. I do not see this on a corporate scale, so I conclude that they are not people.

Corporations also can not be registered to, or participate in an election. They can buy ads, they can sway public opinion, they can flat out lie, but they can not cast a vote in a corporate name.

Corporations are not born, nor do they die, they do not think, they do not posses the cerebral responses as specified by the court to possess " life".

This list could go on and on.


i agree 100%...and the fact that the republican majority on this supreme court upheld citizens united as being legal, is so profoundly unethical and utterly biased, it makes their judicial integrity non-existant



posted on Nov, 17 2012 @ 01:50 PM
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Originally posted by Seiko
When I see a corporation arrested and jailed I might change my mind. Yes to be a citizen of a country you must be protected, but also be prosecuted under the laws fairly. I do not see this on a corporate scale, so I conclude that they are not people.


As I just stated. A corporation is a group of people. People have the right to peacefully assemble and voice their grievances. Groups that have already assembled (a corporation) can still voice their grievances.

If a group does something illegal, then the people in the group that is responsible for that act can be held accountable. You have no right to hold other people in the group accountable for actions they had nothing to do with.

To hold an entire corporation accountable for the act of a few people that are in that corporation is to hold everyone in that corporation liable for acts that they had nothing to do with. The only time the rest of the people in the group become liable is if they know what is going on and continue to support what is going on.

If a person is using his position in a non for profit organization to skim off donations to buy himself a big luxury boat, or to traffic arms to militant groups. Should the rest of the organization that knows nothing of what he is doing, be shut down as a result?

If we carry that logic on… Do we lose our right to peacefully assemble and voice our grievances when someone we have no control over ties to identify themselves with our group and does something wrong? If we are protesting and someone joins the group and later vandalizes something. Should the entire protest be disbanded, and everyone in the protest prosecuted for the vandalism? Or should the person in the group the did the vandalism, and him alone, be arrested and held responsible?

The only time the whole group of protesters should be held responsible for the act on one person in the protest is when the entire group of protesters encourages and protects that person in question.



posted on Nov, 17 2012 @ 02:04 PM
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this isn't about what can be 'said"...it's about using investors money that could be returned as profits, and using those profits to support a political candidate monetarily to whom the investor does not agree with





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