US landmark Supreme Court decision yesterday (1/20/2010) ends a ban on businesses using money from their own funds to pay for campaign ads and re-affirms “Of the Corporations, By the Corporations, For the Corporations”. According to the NY Times, “The Supreme Court threw out a 63-year-old law designed to restrain the influence of big business and unions on elections Thursday, ruling that corporations may spend as freely as they like to support or oppose candidates for president and Congress.”
Can you fill in the blank?
_______ is a political ideology that seeks to combine radical and authoritarian nationalism with a corporatist economic system, and which is usually considered to be on the far right of the traditional left-right political spectrum.. (Source)
Here’s the BBC News report:
The ruling could transform the way political campaigns are fought
The US Supreme Court has rejected long-standing limits on how much companies can spend on political campaigns.
The ruling is likely to change the way presidential and congressional campaigns are funded, including this year’s crucial mid-term elections.
The court’s 5-4 vote ends a 20-year ban on businesses using money from their own funds to pay for campaign ads.
But US President Barack Obama condemned the decision, pledging to work with Congress for a “forceful response”.
He said the court had “given a green light to a new stampede of special interest money in our politics”.
“It s a major victory for big oil, Wall Street banks, health insurance companies and the other powerful interests that marshal their power every day in Washington to drown out the voices of everyday Americans,” he said in a statement.
The decision essentially kills a sizable portion of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, better known as the McCain-Feingold Act.
Democracy 21’s Fred Wertheimer noted, “In a stark choice between the right of American citizens to a government free from “influence-buying” corruption and the economic and political interests of American corporations, five Supreme Court Justices today came down in favor of American corporations.”
According to The Hill, New York Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer noted: “The bottom line is this: The Supreme Court has just pre-determined the winners of next November’s elections. It won’t be Republicans, it won’t be Democrats, it will be corporate America.”
Bottom Line “A Disaster“: Corporate law imposes no citizenship, or even residence requirement on stockholders or company officers. So what is to prevent a country– say China – from buying controlling interest in a company and using its free-speech millions to elect the senators from 10 or 12 small states, who would then control what laws were passed by the US Congress. The strict constructionists have constructed a disaster. (Source)
Johann Hari comments:
For over a century, the US has slowly put some limits – too few, too feeble – on how much corporations can bribe, bully or intimidate politicians. On Tuesday, they were burned away in one whoosh. The Supreme Court ruled that corporations can suddenly run political adverts during an election campaign – and there is absolutely no limit on how many, or how much they can spend. So if you anger Goldman Sachs by supporting legislation to break up the too-big-to-fail banks, you will smack into a wall of 24/7 ads exposing your every flaw. If you displease Exxon-Mobil by supporting legislation to deal with global warming, you will now be hit by a tsunami of advertising saying you are opposed to jobs and The American Way. If you rile the defence contractors by opposing the gargantuan war budget, you will face a smear-campaign calling you Soft on Terror.
Representative Alan Grayson says: “It basically institutionalizes and legalizes bribery on the largest scale imaginable. Corporations will now be able to reward the politicians that play ball with them – and beat to death the politicians that don’t… You won’t even hear any more about the Senator from Kansas. It’ll be the Senator from General Electric or the Senator from Microsoft.” In 2008, Exxon Mobil made profits of $85bn. So if they dedicated just 10 percent to backing a President who would serve their interests, they would have $8.5bn to spend – more than every candidate for President and every candidate for Senate spent at the last election. And that’s just one corporation.
As Senator Dick Durbin says simply: “The banks own the Senate,” so how do you reregulate the banks, if the Senate is owned by Wall Street?
Yet the corporations that caused this crisis are now being given yet more power. Bizarrely, the Supreme Court has decided that corporations are “persons”, so they have the “right” to speak during elections. But corporations are not people. Should they have the right to bear arms, or to vote? It would make as much sense. They are a legal fiction, invented by the state – and they can be fairly regulated to stop them devouring their creator. This is the same Supreme Court that ruled that the detainees at Guantanomo Bay are not “persons” under the constitution and are deserving of basic protections. A court that says a living breathing human is less of a “person” than Lockheed Martin has gone badly awry.
Obama, in his reaction to the Supreme Court decision, said: “It is a major victory for big oil, Wall Street banks, health insurance companies, and other powerful interests that marshal their power every day in Washington to drown out the voices of everyday Americas.”