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Corporate Free Speech

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Corporate Free Speech

Post  Dar on Mon Oct 29, 2012 12:53 am

A while back I wrote one of my Senators, Mitch McConnell, concerning my dismay at the Citizen's United decision and the notion that Corporations should be able to spend money on political messages.

My position is that corporations should not be granted such free speech rights. Their shareholders already have such free speech rights. Extending such rights to corporations effectively gives the management of corporations a megaphone; thus, disproportionate free speech rights. I was also concerned with the exercise of unlimited anonymous campaign spending opened up by the decision using SuperPACS. I do not believe freedom of speech entails freedom from consequences of political spending. If people want to boycott a business for their political activities, they should be able to do so. Such anonymous campaign contributions allows those endowed with the money to do so to lie and deceive with no fear of public reprisal. I don't recall the exact message I sent, but here is the response:

Mitch McConnell wrote:Thank you for contacting me regarding the finance of elections. Hearing your views helps me represent Kentucky in the United States Senate.

In your correspondence, you expressed your thoughts regarding the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in the case of Citizen's United v. Federal Election Commission. In the decision, the Supreme Court held that Congress may not discriminate in limiting speech on the basis of the speaker's corporate identity. The Court also upheld restrictions on giving to candidates as well as disclosure and disclaimer requirements in regulating political speech.

Since my arrival in the United States Senate, I have strongly supported the First Amendment rights of citizens to lawfully endorse and support political candidates. By ruling that the U.S. Constitution protects their right to express themselves, the Supreme Court took an important step in the direction of restoring the First Amendment rights of certain groups. By previously denying this right, the government was picking winners and losers. Our democracy depends on free speech, not just for some but for all. Vibrant democratic debate requires more political speech, not less.

Again, thank you for contacting me. Please continue to keep me informed of issues important to you.

Sincerely,

(signiture)

MITCH McCONNELL
UNITED STATES SENATOR

MM/ah
Pretty much what I expected. Still, I think it important to write one's representatives from time to time. Democracy has zero chance of working without participation.

Dar

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Re: Corporate Free Speech

Post  scott1328 on Mon Oct 29, 2012 1:54 am

Citizens United has to be the worst ruling by the Supreme Court since the Dredd Scott decision. It is baffling to me how the originalists on the court could have possibly concluded that the framers had any intention of granting fictitious persons ANY sort of human rights.

Let us hope that congress can find the wherewithal to overturn this or Obama has the opportunity to appoint justices that will.

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Re: Corporate Free Speech

Post  Dar on Mon Oct 29, 2012 2:10 am

You should read
Gangs of America: The Rise of Corporate Power and the Disabling of Democracy by Ted Nace.

This link goes to the books download page. The author has made it freely available.

Here's the first few paragraphs of chapter fourteen.
Ted Nace wrote:What legal rationales has the Supreme Court relied upon to estab-
lish corporate rights? How well do those rationales stand up to an audit
of their logical coherence?

At first glance, the Supreme Court’s development of corporate
rights has the appearance of an orderly and careful progression. It be-
gins with the foundation decision in the 1886 Santa Clara case declar-
ing corporations to be entitled to the same “equal protection” as persons
under the Fourteenth Amendment. Then, over the course of the follow-
ing century, the Court examines first one case and then another, gradu-
ally expanding the set of corporate rights. (The entire “corporate bill of
rights” is shown in Table 1.1.)

That image of coherence and care is deceptive. The judicial rea-
soning that underlies the creation of corporate rights has cracks--deep
internal inconsistencies. Unfortunately, the process by which the Su-
preme Court builds a body of jurisprudence out of multiple decisions
does not serve to expose these sorts of cracks, but rather to hide them.
With the passage of time, the defective old bricks acquire a sheen of
legitimacy, weathering into handsome, venerable foundations

Dar

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Re: Corporate Free Speech

Post  Youthinasia on Mon Oct 29, 2012 4:53 am

Yes I think that the Santa Clara decision is the real issue here, which is the fallacy of corporate personhood. Which in both reality and in effect is basically those who want to incorporate saying to government "Look, we'll give you an entity to tax, provided you grant us special privileges where we can escape liability in the marketplace." effectively giving the corporation more rights than a real flesh and blood human being in exchange for tax revenue, which in the modern pro business, state capitalist system amounts to some corporations now having negative tax burdens.

Citizens united is essentially just an extension of those already unjustifiable rights ever further into the political sphere where it can benefit both business and individual politicians to even greater degrees.

As for a solution, I've heard some convincing arguments put forth by Kevin Carson on creating legal tools on piercing the corporate veil. But I think the only real solution is to create a new separate market entity for the corporation that does not grant it human rights, and prevents it from being subsidized or protected by the government.

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Re: Corporate Free Speech

Post  AliRadicali on Mon Oct 29, 2012 12:12 pm

Youthinasia wrote:Yes I think that the Santa Clara decision is the real issue here, which is the fallacy of corporate personhood. Which in both reality and in effect is basically those who want to incorporate saying to government "Look, we'll give you an entity to tax, provided you grant us special privileges where we can escape liability in the marketplace." effectively giving the corporation more rights than a real flesh and blood human being in exchange for tax revenue, which in the modern pro business, state capitalist system amounts to some corporations now having negative tax burdens.
AFAIK the Santa Clara case wasn't even a real court decision on this matter. Corporate personhood was brought up but not even relevant to settling the case, but somehow, since it had been brought up, it was later treated as it it had set a precedent.
Youthinasia wrote:
As for a solution, I've heard some convincing arguments put forth by Kevin Carson on creating legal tools on piercing the corporate veil. But I think the only real solution is to create a new separate market entity for the corporation that does not grant it human rights, and prevents it from being subsidized or protected by the government.
I think repealing citizens united is a more realistic solution. It's not an end-all solution, you're still left with a massively corrupt, corporate puppet government, but at least this is one easy way to trim it way down. In terms of a more permanent solution, I think the real problem is the lack of democracy. I think if significant changes were made in the way voting works, in the way people are represented in government, a great deal of the changes we want government to make would follow automatically.
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