14 Feb 2017

America's fascism countdown

Watch this seven-year-old opinion by Keith Oberman on the implications of Citizens United (i.e., politicians as prostitutes)

Happy Velentines for you and those you love. Perhaps a good time to make sure you're doing all you can to oppose the policies and people who seek to endanger them?

Getting started:


  1. Here's a link to something far more substantive than anything Keith Olberman could ever say. https://www.supremecourt.gov/oral_arguments/argument_transcripts/08-205[Reargued].pdf
    I would suggest that this provides a better idea of what the case was about than anything that the media has reported. I would be interested to see if your thoughts on the case change in anyway after reading some of this.

    Thanks! Rich Mills

    1. Hi Rich... I made it to page 14 and then skipped ahead and found nothing. It's a conversation, after all. My opinion on CU is based on its change (as I understand it, giving corps rights previously reserved for individuals) and its impact (money flows). The arguments were not addressing these issues, but precedent, word-use, etc. in ways that were not in the same category of argument as mine. (Theory, if you will, rather than precedent.)

    2. Hello, I think you have the corps' rights issue backwards. The law sought to remove rights that previously had been considered belonging to corps, which in many legal senses are individuals. I believe that is the meaning behind "corporation." This quote from the beginning of Olsen's argument is the heart of the matter: " Robust debate about candidates for elective
      office is the most fundamental value protected by the
      First Amendment's guarantee of free speech. Yet that is
      precisely the dialogue that the government has
      prohibited if practiced by unions or corporations, any
      union or any corporation.
      The government claims it may do so based
      upon the Austin decision that corporate speech is by its
      nature corrosive and distorting because it might not
      reflected actual public support for the views expressed
      by the corporation. The government admits that that
      radical concept of requiring public support for the
      speech before you can speak would even authorize it to
      criminalize books and signs." In the CU case, the company had made a movie about Hillary Clinton that was uncomplimentary. That is what the company was in trouble for. Not making contributions to a campaign, but making a movie about a candidate that expressed a point of view. The gov't held that the law gave it permission to ban books and movies if they were done by corporations. Would "media companies" be exempt? What about foreign media companies? And I'll ask another question that was not touched on to my knowledge in the arguments: what if someone had done a crowdfunding campaign to put out a book, movie or some other media about a candidate - would that be subject to the restrictions of the law? To me, here's the real "bottom line" of the decision: the government must have a hell of a good reason before it blocks anyone, be it a company or a person, from publishing a political view. And I, for one, think that is a good thing.

    3. @Richard -- I agree with you on free speech. It can come from anywhere. But, I'd differentiate between free speech and campaign support (ignoring all the other issues with US elections -- gerrymandering, voter registration, party debates, etc.) because it doesn't make sense to reserve "speech" for natural persons. OTOH, I am absolutely willing to limit commercial speech (remember that I want to ban advertising), so that would put quite a limit on the what corporations could do, as they would not be able to advocate for their interests via media (also remember that I want to end corporate taxes, to get around the biggest issue with corporate corruption). What would remain would be limits on campaign speech that I would regulate in a boring, plain vanilla, fact-checked way. That's not "the American Way" (and it's not exactly the EU way, as I would put zero limits on hate speech etc.), but the American Way isn't working so well, IMO.


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