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Posts Tagged ‘Citizens United v. the FEC’

Target, Among Others, Takes Aim At Hispanics And Restaurant Wait Staff Workers In Minnesota. Citizens United Case Bears Its Fruit.

In this age of near total corruption of the legislative process in the United States by multi-national corporations and the military industrial complex which has led us to the brink of financial collapse and endless war, the Supreme Court case Citizens United v. FEC effectively designed to shut off voter remedy has borne its first fruit. A new Political Action Committee named Minnesota Forward funded by the Target Corporation, Polaris, Hubbard Broadcasting, and others has thrown its money behind the “Tea Party” like GOP candidate in Minnesota’s governor’s race, Tom Emmer. Mr. Emmer has called for lower than minimum wage wages for restaurant servers or wait staff and has praised Arizona’s unconstitutional Immigration law that was written or crafted by racist political elements.

At the Wecome to O So Minnesota blog website, George Campbell has suggested a letter writing campaign to Target Corporation CEO Gregg W. Steinhafel. How this will effect the public image of these corporations and/or bottom line, time will tell. Join in if you like.

The Weekend Orgy Of Ignorance And Hate That Was The Tea Party Convention.

The convention of unhinged right wing radicals called the “Tea Party” concluded its facts be damned idiocy with it’s heroine, Sarah Palin, the one who gave us a “he pals around with terrorists” description of President Obama and “death panels” to scare the intellectually incurious concerning any reform of a failed health care delivery system, reading cheat notes written on her palm. One would think a speech to a movement built on repetition of words until someone believes you wouldn’t be difficult enough to require any cheat notes. But dignity may not have been required for a convention that had the feel of a rally for John Birchers, “Know Nothings“, white supremacists, and corporate manipulated Jethro Bodine types. Matt Taibbi had it correct when he said,

These are people who’ve been gouged for years by the deregulated banking, mortgage lending, and commodities trading business, and when Obama sends down very weak, watered-down regulations to deal with those problems, they howl that he’s against “private enterprise” because that’s what they’ve been told to think by the Glenn Becks of the world.

The convention had everything an ignorant frightened bigot could dream for such as thinly veiled racism and the “birther” movement, homophobia, McCarthyism, theocratic ramblings and a total misunderstanding of both Constitution and the flawed economics behind the recession. On its opening night, it had former Rep. Tom Tancredo (R) CA., suggesting that Jim Crow type laws should be brought back such as a

a civics, literacy test before people can vote in this country

probably not realizing the irony most in the convention hall probably couldn’t pass it. Of course all this was directed towards the group’s xenophobia of Latin American immigrants while calling tolerance of the cultural differences between people

the cult of multiculturalism

.
Tancredo went on to to express a McCarthy like favorite among rightwing types that the overly corporate friendly Obama administration was

a committed socialist ideologue in the White House … Barack Hussein Obama

which is a popular unreality in the minds of the convention attendees who’s minds have lost the ability to process information in a logic based manner due to rightwing media. He continued his ramblings by saying that this country was founded on a culture based on Judeo Christian principles whether people like it or they don’t and if you don’t like it, don’t come here and if you are here, go home. Would Thomas Jefferson have to “go home”? Afterall, Jefferson’s words would make him “unAmerican” by opinion of this convention with quotes such as,

Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law.
-Thomas Jefferson, letter to Dr. Thomas Cooper, February 10, 1814

History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes.
-Thomas Jefferson to Alexander von Humboldt, Dec. 6, 1813.

Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined and imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity.
-Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia, 1782

And there is this from the treaty with Tripoli of 1796 which was written under the Presidency of George Washington and signed into law by President John Adams,

the government of the United States is “in no sense founded on the Christian religion

In fact, the Constitution of the United States does not mention “Christianity”, “Judeo Christian”, “Jesus”, “the Bible”, etc. which would be strange if the country was indeed founded on its principles. It is not mentioned just as corporations are not mentioned despite the hard right Roberts Supreme Court recent decision in Citizens United v. FEC that corporations are persons entitled to the Bill of Rights and that their money is “free speech”. The Ten Commandments Judge, Judge Roy Moore was also at the Tea Party Convention and said,

“[Obama] has ignored our history and our heritage, arrogantly declaring to the world that we are no longer a Christian nation. He has elevated immorality to a new level, setting aside the entire month of June to celebrate gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender pride. He now threatens to change our law to allow homosexuality in our military … He’s apologized to the Arab world for our past, subjugated our national sovereignty by bowing down to the king of Saudi Arabia. He has pursued a socialist agenda by taking control of private companies and pushing a national health care plan with a public option. …

They must read from a different Constitution such as the one the Bush Administration and it’s Dept. of Justice made up when they were breaking our laws and treaties.

Noam Chomsky said in a November, 2009 interview with Diane Krauthamer, the following,

So take right now, for example, there is a right-wing populist uprising. It’s very common, even on the left, to just ridicule them, but that’s not the right reaction. If you look at those people and listen to them on talk radio, these are people with real grievances. I listen to talk radio a lot and it’s kind of interesting. If you can sort of suspend your knowledge of the world and just enter into the world of the people who are calling in, you can understand them. I’ve never seen a study, but my sense is that these are people who feel really aggrieved. These people think, “I’ve done everything right all my life, I’m a god-fearing Christian, I’m white, I’m male, I’ve worked hard, and I carry a gun. I do everything I’m supposed to do. And I’m getting shafted.” And in fact they are getting shafted. For 30 years their wages have stagnated or declined, the social conditions have worsened, the children are going crazy, there are no schools, there’s nothing, so somebody must be doing something to them, and they want to know who it is. Well Rush Limbaugh has answered – it’s the rich liberals who own the banks and run the government, and of course run the media, and they don’t care about you—they just want to give everything away to illegal immigrants and gays and communists and so on.

Well, you know, the reaction we should be having to them is not ridicule, but rather self-criticism. Why aren’t we organizing them? I mean, we are the ones that ought to be organizing them, not Rush Limbaugh. There are historical analogs, which are not exact, of course, but are close enough to be worrisome. This is a whiff of early Nazi Germany. Hitler was appealing to groups with similar grievances, and giving them crazy answers, but at least they were answers; these groups weren’t getting them anywhere else. It was the Jews and the Bolsheviks [that were the problem].

While I agree with Chomsky of the dangers we currently live in, especially since the U.S. enacted its own version of the Enabling Act called the “Patriot Act” and suspended habeas corpus during the Bush administration, I’m not sure these people can still be reached without first somehow exposing the fraudulent rants of Limbaugh, Hannity, Fox “News” and the like as the crazy train seems to have already left the station. I’m reminded of the reaction to Galileo’s revelations in his time and his subsequent jail sentence. But I guess people who are educated and know reality must still try or lose all which is dear to us.

More On The Supreme Court Ruling In Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission And The Road Ahead. Supreme Choice: Terminate Transparency, Accountability & Right To Know, or Enforce the Criminal Law?

Supreme Choice: Terminate Transparency, Accountability & Right to Know, or Enforce the Criminal Law?

Today’s editorial in the LA Times hits an issue on the head. It is the critical issue for self-government (or its potential restoration) in our time. As framed in the case now in the US Supreme Court, gay rights advocates are the bad guys – harassers and retaliators – and the solution proposed is to eliminate the public’s right to know who the anti-gay rights forces are, or to check and balance their power. The Court’s ruling will apply, as it must, to petitioners generally. Hitting the issue on the head, the LA Times said:

“{T}he remedy for that problem is enforcement of criminal laws, not the withholding of public documents. If a state acts on its commitment to transparency, it shouldn’t be thwarted by a fallacious 1st Amendment argument.”

What is the issue the LA Times hit on the head? It’s the claim made in the US Supreme Court in Doe v. Reed, by the very same lead attorney as in Citizens United, this time saying that the names of referendum petition signers should be SECRET – on the grounds of preventing potential retaliation or harassment of the signers.

Attorney James Bopp, Jr seeks to protect those that allegedly signed a referendum petition against gay rights. I say “allegedly” because the Supreme Court has already ordered the names and identities of signers held secret and so if anyone knows for sure what is on those petitions it would only be the Washington state’s Republican Secretary of State Sam Reed.

I should not have to point out that secret petitioner signers eliminate any and all checks and balances whenever the interests of the petitioners (Republicans, in this case) align with the interests of the official checking final numbers of signatures (another Republican operation). Moreover, even when interests do not align, secrecy causes massive structural damage to checks and balances, accountability and the public’s right to know.

The Washington state law that would otherwise say these STATE law signatures are public records was passed overwhelmingly by initiative. I’ve put key text from this public records law, mirrored in other states like California and West Virginia, in large type to make sure everyone can “hear” it, and not mistake it for an exercise of the right to remain silent. Among other very strong language, it says:

“The people of this state do not yield their sovereignty to the agencies that serve them. The people, in delegating authority, do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know. The people insist on remaining informed so that they may maintain control over the instruments that they have created.”
-RCW 42.56.030

How can the people “remain in control” when advocacy groups get laws on the ballot with secret, perhaps bogus, signatures? You can expect corporate-backed laws to be accompanied by $10 million or more unlimited spending sprees per Citizens United and other cases.

Persons who sign petitions to get things on the ballot are invoking the direct-democracy Legislative capacity of the people to pass laws. It is very much like the requirement, then, that legislators have public hearings and publish their roll call votes for voters to inspect and hold accountable.

To allow such petitions for initiatives and referenda to keep identities of signers secret means that the levers of power are allowed to operate with masks on and hoods over their head. This is not the accountability planned for self-government.

Secrecy always totally defeats any possible accountability.

The protection for those actually harassed is the same protection you and I have against murder, rape, or burglary: call 9-11 and invoke the criminal laws. If that is good enough for murder, it is good enough for anyone signing a petition, to be sure. Besides, the entire notion of checks and balances and the public’s right to know is implicated with petitions, but not with ordinary crime.

The LA Times, located in California, is in one of the few states that keeps petitioners secret in most cases. California has recently been forcing voters with political buttons on to wear hospital gowns in polling place to cover up if they do not remove the button or shirt. The LA Times sees past its own state’s regulations on petitions.

This Doe v. Reed case US Supreme Court case is the intermediate step in making all campaign contributions secret (probably by putting code numbers instead of names on “disclosures”). With voters being hushed up in polling places in California and other places, an opinion in the California Court of Appeals just two weeks ago holding that poll watchers have no right to have a camera or video to document anything, and with the cases moving up to the Supreme Court arguing for principles of secret political contributions, we need to make clear the stakes here are absolutely fundamental and non-negotiable:

“The people of this state do not yield their sovereignty to the agencies that serve them. The people, in delegating authority, do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know. The people insist on remaining informed so that they may maintain control over the instruments that they have created.” – Revised Code Washington, RCW 42.56.030

Nevertheless, by an 8-1 vote the Supreme Court has ordered the signatures held secret pending their decision, which is not yet even docketed for oral argument. Certainly, the ballot will be finalized and perhaps the election over before the Supreme Court decides. This means that the Supreme Court is erring on the side of secrecy. Besides, under Supreme Court rules a stay may not be issued at all unless it is likely the requesting party is going to win when all is said and done. Consequently, the sole vote of Clarence Thomas for no disclosure in Citizens United is not a good predictor of where the principles of Citizens United and the attorney common to both Citizens United and Doe v. Reed are taking us. It is a railroad to secret campaign money and secret petitions.

Secrecy means no accountability. Who can possibly be in favor of unaccountable government or unaccountable exercises of power over us?

Instead of having our right to remain silent read TO us, we should read OUR rights TO THEM. See the statement of democracy and self-government that is the same philosophy nationwide as it is in Washington State, that the Supreme Court is poised to strike down as applied to exercising the power to get things on the ballot. RCW 42.56.030.

“The people of this state do not yield their sovereignty to the agencies that serve them. The people, in delegating authority, do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know. The people insist on remaining informed so that they may maintain control over the instruments that they have created.”

If the Supreme Court kills the above policy of the people of the State of Washington, what has to stop lawmakers claiming fear of harassment from keeping their votes secret? What’s to stop the destruction of the right to know and all accountability? Accountability always feels like harassment or retaliation, especially when power abuses or ignores important rights. That’s exactly where they want the secrecy.

Paul Lehto, Juris Doctor

Original

Lead Point Attorney Of Citizens United Confessess To 10 Year Plan To Take Down All Campaign Finance Law.

In a story in the New York Times, ” A Quest To End Spending Rules for Campaigns” by David Kirkpatrick, lead attorney for Citizens United, the rightwing group in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, James Bopp Jr. was cited in an interview saying,

“We had a 10-year plan to take all this down, and if we do it right, I think we can pretty well dismantle the entire regulatory regime that is called campaign finance law.”

He went on to say we’re not done yet. Also the article notes,

The same week the court issued its ruling, it agreed to hear Mr. Bopp’s next appeal: seeking to prevent the public release of the names of people who signed a Washington State petition opposing same-sex marriage, on the ground that gay rights supporters might harass them.

For Mr. Bopp, it is a chance to chip away at some of the disclosure laws left intact by the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Citizens United case.

Then there is his suit on behalf of the Republican National Committee, pending in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, seeking to overturn some of the limits on direct corporate contributions to the political parties. When Mr. Bopp filed it a few years ago, many legal scholars considered the suit almost pointless because of Supreme Court precedents. But the court’s opinion last week — from a slightly different set of justices — has cast it in a far more favorable light.

In other words, no spending limits, no disclosure (secrecy), and no accountability. It seems he has the right court packed full of radicals for full multinational corporate control of the election process in the United States. The public interest is under dire attack.

The Shift From Democracy To Corporate Dictatorship And The Tragedy Of The Lack Of Push Back. Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.

January 24, 2010 2 comments

While our country has had many dark periods whereby it did not adhere to the founding principles produced in its documents and democracy and freedom has been a struggle for many, especially African Americans who suffered so long and greatly from the darkness of slavery to an apartheid type of government in the Jim Crow laws and segregation of the south, women who couldn’t vote, the Alien and Sedition Acts, the slaughter of the native people of North America, and so forth, the United States moved towards a more perfect union domestically since World War II. Then through great legal movements, America started becoming a nation of laws to protect both the guilty and innocent in a just system of laws such as the great example at Nuremberg abroad when a great threat was defeated (which now has been erased by the G.W. Bush Presidency in its “war against terror” much to the horror of legal scholars) while at home, equal protection under the law for Americans was starting to advance. We had Teddy Roosevelt to bust up monopolies that threatened competition and entrepreneurship as well from corporate take over of state (commonly called fascism since the 1930’s). We had Franklin D. Roosevelt give us Social Security so as we aged, we could avoid poverty and rules for our financial markets and banking system to put the United States on sound economic footing instead of the rampant unregulated greed and power that led us to the Great Depression. President Lyndon Johnson signed Medicare into law, a single payer health care system for seniors despite years of Republican run ads using Ronald Reagan declaring it would lead us into a socialist dictatorship (sound familiar?). Civil rights for all its citizens and equal protection of the law began to assert itself at home through the heroism of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and determined governance. We enacted environmental laws to protect our water and air from pollutants of industry, a labor movement and laws emerged and produced a middle class from the ravages of the past Robber Baron era and the Gilded Age from a society stratified into rich and the impoverished. These struggles seem to have been forgotten today in a society with no memory beyond what happened the week before and the news media has been turned into entertainment looking for ratings rather than real information. As we have entered the 21st century, much of this forward movement has come to a resounding end, and not only that, but a rapid reversal. In fact, the Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission is a culmination of decades of assault on the principles of western democracy and the concepts enshrined in our founding documents of self governance by the people.

So how did we get to this point and a horrible decision that makes corporations super “persons” by declaration of the Supreme Court that money is “free speech”, money that breathing live persons cannot match thus rendering their right to free speech less? Can this be really what the founders had in mind when they conceived the Constitution and the Bill of Rights? No, it had to begin with poor application and interpretation of law. In “Personalizing the Impersonal: Corporations and the Bill of Rights” by Carl J. Mayer as published by Hastings Law Journal, Hastings College of Law at University of California, March, 1990; Volume 41, No. 3 was written the following:

The Constitution does not mention corporations.*8 To claim legal status, nineteenth century lawyers argued that corporations should be considered “citizens” or “persons” for application of various constitutional provisions. …

Most of these cases were decided early in the nineteenth century — before significant government economic regulation — and involved the corporation’s right to sue or be sued.

Also,

Two competing visions of corporate personality influenced the Court’s nineteenth century decisions,*15 and to some degree still underlie modern opinions. The first and most traditional notion was the “artificial entity” theory viewing the corporation as nothing more than an artificial creature of the state, subject to government imposed limitations and restrictions.*16 This theory had its origins in English corporation law,*17 and in antebellum legislatures’ practice of considering incorporation a special privilege, awarded by the state for the pursuit of public purposes.*18 Under this view, corporations cannot assert constitutional rights against the state, their creator.*19

The second vision was the “natural entity” or person theory. This theory regards the corporation not as artificial, but as real, with a separate existence and independent rights. It is associated with continental theorists who, at the turn of the century, wrote about “group” or “corporate” [*581] personality in an effort to challenge individualism and to come to terms with institutions of modern society such as corporations, trade unions, universities, and professional associations.*20 This understanding of the corporation most favors corporate constitutional rights.*21

But still, it would have to take more than that, it would have to take something ideological and political to end up with the current aberration. It would take a plan to turn Democracy and Constitutional protections designed for living and breathing citizens on its head in order to concentrate power and laws to huge corporate entities and their monied few for their benefit. It would have to be a plan to do an end around the founders’ intentions of investing governance, liberties, and rights intended for living people of the United States and the branch of government they invested with insuring this governance by the people through their representatives and thus in such matters, the Congress, and in particular, the House of Representatives. Such a plan, or rightwing manifesto if you will, emerged in 1971 and was written by a corporate lawyer who would become an appointee to the Supreme Court, Lewis Franklin Powell Jr. , now called The Powell Memo, written two months before his nomination by President Richard M. Nixon. This memo was titled, “Attack of American Free Enterprise System” and was sent to his friend Eugene Sydnor Jr., who at the time was Chairman of the Education Committee of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. ReclaimDemocracy.org states:

The Powell Memo did not become available to the public until long after his confirmation to the Court. It was leaked to Jack Anderson, a liberal syndicated columnist, who stirred interest in the document when he cited it as reason to doubt Powell’s legal objectivity. Anderson cautioned that Powell “might use his position on the Supreme Court to put his ideas into practice…in behalf of business interests.”

Though Powell’s memo was not the sole influence, the Chamber and corporate activists took his advice to heart and began building a powerful array of institutions designed to shift public attitudes and beliefs over the course of years and decades. The memo influenced or inspired the creation of the Heritage Foundation, the Manhattan Institute, the Cato Institute, Citizens for a Sound Economy, Accuracy in Academe, and other powerful organizations. Their long-term focus began paying off handsomely in the 1980s, in coordination with the Reagan Administration’s “hands-off business” philosophy.

The memo itself was a reflection of its time, a time of social change and growing resistance to war in Southeast Asia. But what it was, was a blueprint for corporate power taking control of American institutions. Just about everything imaginable is listed. The list includes the following: Colleges and intellectuals (always the bogey man of far right movements and governments), high schools, graduate schools, television, radio, the press, advertisements, pamphlets, etc.. Today with the proliferation of the rightwing think tanks, rightwing media, free trade agreements and cheap overseas labor, the near decimation of organized labor, and the unregulated business sector, and multinational corporations with off shore accounts and addresses to escape taxation, one would have to say the plan was executed exceedingly well. And it’s, of course, always the generated fear of Marxism. Someone needs to inform them there is no Marxist movement of note in the United States. There hasn’t been any liberal economic theory (what they call liberal) practice in the United States since the days of Nixon. Someone needs to also inform them regulated capitalism, government programs to promote the general welfare, legal protections for the citizens of the United States, isn’t Marxism, it’s called civilization.

In responding to Paul Krugman’s New York Times op-ed titled “All the President’s Zombies” of August, 2009, Henry A. Giroux wrote in a piece called “The Powell Memo and the Teaching Machines of Right-Wing Extremists ” at truthout,

Paul Krugman, the Nobel Prize-winning economist, echoing the feelings of many progressives, recently wrote in The New York Times about how dismayed he was over the success right-wing ideologues have had not only in undercutting Obama’s health care bill, but also in mobilizing enormous public support against almost any reform aimed at rolling back the economic, political, and social conditions that have created the economic recession and the legacy of enormous suffering and hardship for millions of Americans over the last 30 years.[1] Krugman is somewhat astonished that after almost three decades the political scene is still under the sway of what he calls the “zombie doctrine of Reaganism,” – the notion that any action by government is bad, except when it benefits corporations and the rich. Clearly, for Krugman, zombie Reaganism appears once again to be shaping policies under the Obama regime. And yet, not only did Reaganism with its hatred of the social state, celebration of unbridled self-interest, its endless quest to privatize everything, and support for deregulation of the economic system eventually bring the country to near economic collapse, it also produced enormous suffering for those who never benefited from the excesses of the second Gilded Age, especially workers, the poor, disadvantaged minorities and eventually large segments of the middle class. And yet, zombie market politics is back rejecting the public option in Obama’s health plan, fighting efforts to strengthen bank regulations, resisting caps on CEO bonuses, preventing climate-control legislation, and refusing to limit military spending. Unlike other pundits, Krugman does not merely puzzle over how zombie politics can keep turning up on the political scene – a return not unlike the endless corpses who keep coming back to life in George Romero’s 1968 classic film, “Night of the Living Dead” (think of Bill Kristol who seems to be wrong about everything but just keeps coming back). For Krugman, a wacky and discredited right-wing politics is far from dead and, in fact, one of the great challenges of the current moment is to try to understand the conditions that allow it to once again shape American politics and culture, given the enormous problems it has produced at all levels of American society, including the current recession.

Part of the answer to the enduring quality of such a destructive politics can be found in the lethal combination of money, power and education that the right wing has had a stranglehold on since the early 1970’s and how it has used its influence to develop an institutional infrastructure and ideological apparatus to produce its own intellectuals, disseminate ideas, and eventually control most of the commanding heights and institutions in which knowledge is produced, circulated and legitimated. This is not simply a story about the rise of mean-spirited buffoons such as Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly and Michael Savage. Nor is it simply a story about the loss of language, a growing anti-intellectualism in the larger culture, or the spread of what some have called a new illiteracy endlessly being produced in popular culture. As important as these tendencies are, there is something more at stake here which points to a combination of power, money and education in the service of creating an almost lethal restriction of what can be heard, said, learned and debated in the public sphere. And one starting point for understanding this problem is what has been called the Powell Memo, released on August 23, 1971, and written by Lewis F. Powell, who would later be appointed as a member of the Supreme Court of the United States. Powell sent the memo to the US Chamber of Commerce with the title “Attack on the American Free Enterprise System.”

Indeed, you can see the puzzlement in Krugman’s words,

Call me naïve, but I actually hoped that the failure of Reaganism in practice would kill it. It turns out, however, to be a zombie doctrine: even though it should be dead, it keeps on coming. …

There’s a lot to be said about the financial disaster of the last two years, but the short version is simple: politicians in the thrall of Reaganite ideology dismantled the New Deal regulations that had prevented banking crises for half a century, believing that financial markets could take care of themselves. The effect was to make the financial system vulnerable to a 1930s-style crisis — and the crisis came.

Later, Krugman seems to answer his own questions,

Part of the answer is that there’s a lot of money behind them. “It is difficult to get a man to understand something,” said Upton Sinclair, “when his salary” — or, I would add, his campaign contributions — “depend upon his not understanding it.” In particular, vast amounts of insurance industry money have been flowing to obstructionist Democrats like Mr. Nelson and Senator Max Baucus, whose Gang of Six negotiations have been a crucial roadblock to legislation.

Of course, a major part of the problem also is that after two terms of Ronald Reagan and a term of H.W. Bush, the Clinton victory came with something called the “New Democrat” movement, the party’s own version one might say, of Reaganism. In fact, two major victories of Reaganism came in this period, the Gramm-Leach Bliley Act (repeal of Glass-Steagal Act) and the Telecommunications Act of 1996 which allowed Clear Channel to put Rush Limbaugh and other propagandists and hate speakers in nearly every community. With the last few Congressional elections and the election of Obama, Democratic voters and activists didn’t get the Powell Memo. They thought they were getting the old Democrats they were most familiar with, not the “New Democrats”. They were voting for change.

As Progressives Knew, The Hard Right Supreme Court And the Judiciary Packed By Republican Presidents Wasn’t All About “Saving Babies” Or Stopping “Liberal Activist Judges”.


As progressives as well as civil libertarians knew, the hard right judges on the Supreme Court and America’s District Courts wasn’t so much about “saving babies” (Roe V. Wade) or “liberal activist” judges, but was about putting power in corporate interests and increasing power of the executive branch of the United States. But while you could argue with the myopic Roman Catholic Church (of which I belong) or the Christian Right all you want to about the Constitution, the fear of many Constitutional scholars and civil libertarians was further made reality with today’s Supreme Court decision. The judges the American right has been tapping into are from a group called The Federalist Society and not really associated much with the American Bar Association philosophically. They have believed in a “Constitution in exile” and believe that much of American legal development of the past 200 years has gotten it wrong. This group also pushes hard the “unitary executive” theories that played some part in the illegalities and stands of the Bush imperial presidency. In today’s ruling in Citizens United v. the FEC, the “corporate person” was granted the decision that its riches are “free speech” and is further solidified and protected from interference of flesh and bones persons when it comes to the American political process. The ruling can be read here.

The reaction to the decision by public interest groups was swift.

A coalition of public interest organizations strongly condemned today’s ruling by the US Supreme Court allowing unlimited corporate money in US elections and announced that it is launching a campaign to amend the United States Constitution to overturn the ruling. The groups, Voter Action, Public Citizen, the Center for Corporate Policy, and the American Independent Business Alliance, say the Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. FEC poses a serious and direct threat to democracy.

“Free speech rights are for people, not corporations,” says John Bonifaz, Voter Action’s legal director. “In wrongly assigning First Amendment protections to corporations, the Supreme Court has now unleashed a torrent of corporate money in our political process unmatched by any campaign expenditure totals in US history. This campaign to amend the Constitution will seek to restore the First Amendment to its original purpose.”

As the Tea Bag movement continues their fight against the “big government takeover” of the private sector as they march hand in hand with Alice in Wonderland, we in the reality based community who constitute the reality based fight against the corporate takeover of government must continue to do so with determination and resolve.