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Kennedy Puts Elections Up for Highest Bidder

February 1, 2010 - John Stack
Kennedy Puts Elections Up for Highest Bidder

January 21 was the day the US Supreme Court decided corporations are the ones to decide what is good for us. In a 5-4 ruling, the USSC invalidated much of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform laws. The Court ruled that corporations can spend unlimited amounts of money on political campaigns, right up to the day of the election. I had thought the influence of corporations and unions had hit a peak, and Americans were finally fed up with corporations and unions calling all the shots. A single citizen’s voice had already been nearly quieted, and this ruling has the effect of completely snuffing out any semblance of anybody but the big moneyed interests making all policy decisions. How bad is it? Even many large corporations were hoping the McCain Feingold laws were upheld. From MetLife to Crate and Barrel to San Diego National Bank, they all have implored congress to stop calling them for campaign contributions. All ready, many corporations have already seen a major spike in campaign money calls from Senators, Congressmen and their minions asking for money or asking them to support them. In writing the majority opinion, Justice Kennedy wrote ‘“by definition, an independent expenditure is political speech presented to the electorate that is not coordinated with a candidate.” How far from reality has Justice Kennedy really drifted? The US Supreme Court has been said to be very far removed from reality. This shows just how far removed they are. Does any intelligent human being really think that politicians won’t be calling many of the shots for these corporations? How many times do you think this conversation will happen over the course of the upcoming campaigns “Hello Corporation X. Our candidate Mr Y sits on a committee that is very influential in your company’s area. Now, you can’t contribute to our campaign directly, but I’d like to see $1.5 million in advocacy ads over the next two weeks backing Mr Y, or else that law or regulation you are worried about will not go the way you want’. Not coordinated with the candidate? I can’t believe any political candidate could claim so with a straight face. Try to place this quote - As a result of the war, corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed.’ These words happened to be spoken by (as many political hacks love to remind us) a Republican, none other than Abraham Lincoln in 1864. Smart man, that Abe. In a case of splendid irony, the case was thought to be a relatively minor one. It had to do with a video produced by Citizens United, who created a video against Hillary Clinton in 2008, which was to be distributed as a 90 minute ‘documentary’ on a pay per view cable channel. Truthfully, I think the government overstepped its bounds in stopping this company from airing the video. But back to the irony. Citizens United claims to be a group that works to return the power of the political process back to the people – and then gives big business/money/unions even more of an advantage over regular people. I have many friends who I talk politics with. Most are of the right wing variety. Every single one of them thinks this is a sham, and a terrible decision. This is and was not a right wing/left wing argument. Other than those who plan on profiting from this ruling, both sides of the aisle think this is bad. In fact, the McCain Feingold bill is officially named ‘Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act’ – and it was a bipartisan bill, passed with Republicans holding majorities in both houses (even though the majority of Republicans did vote against it) But, to make sure I had this one right, I really only had to check out what my buddies John and Mitch. And I mean Boehner and McConnell the Republican ‘leaders’ of the House and Senate. ‘I think the Supreme Court decisions today are a big win’ and ‘a step in the right direction’ as well as ‘With today's monumental decision, the Supreme Court took an important step in the direction of restoring the First Amendment rights of these groups by ruling that the Constitution protects their right to express themselves about political candidates and issues up until Election Day.”.


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