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Emerald1943 On December - 18 - 2009

supreme-court1I have been writing about this subject since I first heard about it earlier in the year. In my opinion, this is one of the most important and far-reaching stories of my lifetime. It is about the actual death of our democracy.

No, I’m not just being hyperbolic this morning. I am truly frightened for the future of my country and the principles upon which it was built.

There is a case before the Supreme Court now that will virtually kill what little meaning our votes have in our political system. It involves “free speech” and “corporate personhood”. If the SCOTUS rules as expected, corporations will be allowed “free speech” and will be able to donate DIRECTLY to political campaigns. The law prohibiting this has been on the books since 1947. Up to this point, corporations could only donate through political action committees, but if this law is overturned, they will be allowed to dip into their own vast treasuries to finance campaigns. (Just imagine what would happen to the climate change bills being proposed if Exxon had chosen our President for us!)

If the high court overturns this law as they are expected to do (5 to 4 is the predicted split), the corporation with the deepest pockets will choose our leaders for us. They will be allowed to run “infomercials” either for or against a candidate, affecting the election outcomes. And if there is anyone here who doubts the efficacy of an aggressive advertising campaign, I would point out the aggressive ads by the insurance industry during this fall’s health care debate. Lobbyists for the insurance companies ran a very successful campaign with ads designed to scare the wits out of the American people, complete with lies and distortions about the legislation….remember the “death panels” and “pulling the plug on Grandma”? As a matter of fact, they are still airing these misleading ads as the Senate grinds on.

Friends, this is one of the most serious threats ever to our basic democracy. Corporations already have bought and sold our lawmakers in Washington. Lobbyists literally line the hallways of Congress, waiting to stuff millions of dollars into the pockets of our representatives in return for the right to write the legislation to benefit whatever corporation they work for or for whatever cause they espouse.

I have written before about my search for a good definition of “fascism”. In finding one, I came across one that noted a certain “collusion between big business and government”. Well, if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, we must call if for what it is…FASCISM! Our votes will soon be even more meaningless than they are now under the Electoral College system. Our leaders will be bought and financed by XYZ Corporation and will be expected to bring legislation to benefit XYZ.

I include a link here for a very good article at Huffington Post that is buried deep in the site. At this point, there have been few comments made about it. I question why this subject has not been placed “front and center”….I guess it is really much more important to feed the typical brain-dead American his diet of tabloid trash about Tiger Woods’ many mistresses than it is to focus on a story that may well affect us all in the coming years and may denote the final nail in the coffin for democracy itself.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/paul-abrams/supreme-court-to-hand-gov_b_395239.html

Written by Emerald1943

Born and bred a Southern lady. Degree in nursing and 20 years of classical piano. Two grown children and two gorgeous grandkids. Also two Shih Tzu doggies, the light of my life! Buddhist. A life-long card-carrying, flaming, hard-core, opinionated, liberal/progressive Democrat...and proud of it! Favorite quotation: "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross." Sinclair Lewis

18 Responses so far.

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  1. Tiger99 says:

    If allowed this will go beyond just Corporations like GM or Exxon/Mobile it will most assurdly open a can of worms of challenges and I fear will lead to Mega Churches/Religions becoming more deeply involved in backing canidates openly…
    I also wonder if the giants of media will be given more power to manipulate the electorate…

  2. nellie says:

    Here’s an article that ran in June about Kennedy, who will probably decide this issue.

    Kennedy is the swing vote on the Supreme Court

    And then this, which I find a little mind boggling — Fantasy SCOTUS tries to predict how Kennedy will rule:

    http://abovethelaw.com/2009/12/fantasyscotusnet_predictions_o.php
    http://fantasyscotus.net/

    • bitohistory says:

      Nellie, In my small mind it really depends on Justice Scalia. Will he stick to his so oft belief in “what the founding fathers meant” or will he find something that granted “corporate personhood”? If he finds it in any of the writings he is a complete fraud and he jeopardizes his self professed pomp-ass scholarship. IMHO pomp-ass.

      • nellie says:

        bito, imho, Scalia never sticks to the “strict constructionist” principle. Look what happened in 2000. The founders never intended the supreme court to choose our presidents. Scalia always toes the line of the corporate masters. You’d think an ego like his would have more pride in his work. But apparently not.

        • bitohistory says:

          nellie, don’t you question, in your mind, someone’s motives when they proclaim how humble and honest they may be when they have to declare it? I find this trait in Justice Scalia.

  3. nellie says:

    Emerald, this is one of the most important and most ignored stories. The ramifications of a wrong decision could devastate the democratic process. Propaganda projects like “Hillary, the Movie” could overwhelm our political discourse. There’s no requirement that any of this “speech” be true, and the money on the antisocial side of the equation is bottomless.

    Just when the people’s voices start to be heard, the corporate dictators find another way to drown them out.

    Let’s just hope he have five justices who will do the right thing. The way they did with carbon regulation.

    • Emerald1943 says:

      Thanks for your thoughts, nellie! I am not exaggerating…I am really frightened by this. Since SCOTUS handed the Presidency to the village idiot in 2000, I have lost all faith in them. All we can do at this point is to hope that five of them will look at the long-term ramifications of what they’re doing.

  4. Hopeington says:

    This is the only story I have been holding my breath about…
    We’re screwed. It seems not to be a matter of when, not if, this passes. I feel as if nothing we say or do will matter anymore.
    And,I say not jokingly, I’m really glad I have good friends that live, and own lots of property, in Costa Rica.
    The hardest part is there seems there is nothing we can do to stop this from happening.
    Seems the teabaggers had it right, while it’s not exactly Obama’s doing, fascism is right around the corner for us.
    This is the only bit of news I’ve heard in a LONG time that actually makes me want to break down in tears, and I will when this is passed.
    I don’t even suppose that taking to the streets would make any difference. And, after this summer, fashioned by the likes of Dick Army and friends, I’ve realized there are no big corporations that are for a more liberal agenda…
    We’re Screwed….is all that’s left to say.
    Do we know when they will be voting on this?

    • Emerald1943 says:

      I have no idea when they will vote, but I got the impression that it will be soon from the article on HP this morning.

      • Hopeington says:

        Yikes. I’m glad I’ve got days of work ahead of me and won’t be able to reach a computer, worrying is such a waste of time, and busy work will keep my mind occupied.
        I’m just sad I’ll miss Friday’s musical blow out….
        See you all in a few.

  5. Scheherazade says:

    I wish Scalia had done what he said he would do and retire already! That man is sinister and vicious to the bone.

    If Thomas Jefferson were alive to see this he would be pulling his hair out in sheer grief at what has happened.

    • Emerald1943 says:

      You’re right, as usual! :-) Scalia doesn’t even try to hide his nastiness!

      Jefferson wrote about the threat of this kind of influence on our government. Wish I had some links handy.

      • Scheherazade says:

        Here’s a decent one to get conversation rolling. 😉

        Thomas Jefferson on Banking and (In)Corporations

        The country is headed toward a single and splendid government of an aristocracy founded on banking institutions and monied incorporations and if this tendency continues it will be the end of freedom and democracy, the few will be ruling and riding over the plundered plowman and the beggar . . . I hope we shall take warning from the example of England and crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations which dare already to challenge our government to trial and bid defiance to the laws of our country. I sincerely believe that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies
        -- Thomas Jefferson

  6. choicelady says:

    Emerald -- this IS worrisome, but actually what changes is that a corporation would be confined to direct contributions of $2500. They already have myriad ways to get around this with phony “non-profits” and “527” campaigns. That won’t change.

    We need to fight -- and have needed this since 1886 when fictitious personhood was also established through rampant judicial activism using the 14th Amendment -- to abolish equality of fictitious persons and real persons. I do agree that it is fascist, but it’s been present for over 100 years.

    Pushback can come from labor unions and other large “corporate” entities as it has long done. I’m not minimizing the seriousness of ratification of “rights” for corporations, but it actually won’t change much that is not already happening less overtly.

    What worries me SO much more is how gullible people are already! How can ANYONE listen to the garbage around “health care rationing” directed at a public option and NOT think how much that already happens at the hands of insurance corporations? Why do we hate banks on one hand and love Aetna on the other????

    I did a health care policy update last night, and the uniform agreement we all had was that we have done way too little work (not those here on The Planet but progressives in general) educating our friends and neighbors about reality. It took the ultra right over 20 years to begin their march to take over, 20 more years to blow it big time, but we haven’t spent those 40 years teaching people not just how to support a candidate but to WORK for democracy. When you see hundreds of protesters on the streets for ultra-right causes, where are the progressives??? Those people do a lot of what they do to be “saved” -- are we less concerned because we don’t believe we’re in mortal peril? I cannot believe how ignorant my ALLIES are about political activism.

    So yes, this is a worry, but in some sense it just would ratify what already happens. It might even make it more transparent, and that might be a good thing?

    I continue to have hope.

    • bitohistory says:

      One day a few of us (nellie, Sue, BDM,? ) were wondering about all of the front groups and how many there may be out fighting for the corporate cause. We had made our own lists but it was a daunting task. The next morning, I was reminded of a site that I had not looked at for years:

      http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Portal:Front_groups

      The number of front groups that go unseen and unheard of that represent corporate interests is simply amazing to me.

      This site is worth a save, IMHO. A valuable reference!

    • Hopeington says:

      Well at least you have given me a glimmer of hope, but unfortunately I fear it’s only fleeting.
      The “work” to get a candidate elected is already hard enough, and now seems it may be near impossible.

    • Emerald1943 says:

      Thanks, choicelady, for your thoughts. The case that is pending in the SCOTUS was brought to allow a highly critical film about Hillary Clinton under the guise of “free speech”. I am less concerned about the actual amount of money that corporations can donate than I am about these aggressive advertising campaigns that they can fund. That is where the real effects will be achieved. People seem to believe anything and everything they see on TV these days.


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