[mythtv-users] OT: SCOTUS decision

David Brodbeck gull at gull.us
Sun Feb 21 19:36:40 UTC 2010

On Feb 20, 2010, at 8:01 PM, R. G. Newbury wrote:

> That's NOT what SCOTUS said. And Obambi is alleged to be a lawyer. a  
> Haaavad grad no less so one would expect that he could actually read  
> the decision. Of course, although we know GWB's marks were at Yale  
> and Harvard, for all we now know it appears that Obambi probably  
> failed lunch.
> SCOTUS did NOT say that corporations have protected free speech  
> rights. It said that American citizens can use their corporations to  
> express their free speech rights. It was exactly the  
> misrepresentation by Obambi which caused Justice Alito to react.
> Foreign owned (or controlled) corporations do not have those free  
> speech rights wrt election advertising. And now that the FEC has  
> been told to keep its nose out of a large area, it might decide to  
> concentrate its efforts on its proper mandate.

With all due respect, that's only one reading of what the decision  
means.  Anyone who tells you the long-term implications of this is, at  
best, making an educated guess.  What it *actually* means is going to  
be hashed out in a series of future court cases, and there's no real  
way of knowing how they will shake out.  One issue may be figuring out  
just what counts as a "foreign" corporation to begin with, in this era  
of multinationals.  Generally I think fears over foreign influence of  
elections are overblown but I don't think it's as cut and dried as you  
make it out to be.

A lot of us find the idea of corporations having the same rights as  
actual persons highly unsettling, because it's not a balanced playing  
field.  Corporations can live forever and amass enormous amounts of  
wealth.  Since the Supreme Court has also ruled that money = speech,  
that essentially means that corporations have the power to shout down  
the rest of us whenever they care to.  I don't see this decision in  
the same apocalyptic terms many people do, but I do see it as another  
step down the road to oligarchy.

That said, it would be a bad thing, but ultimately there are other  
problems that will probably do us in sooner.  We're a nation divided.   
We always have been -- the rift between the North and the South has  
never healed, for example, it just gets expressed in politics instead  
of in gunfire now.  Over time we've gradually become so polarized that  
it's become politically impossible for us to solve the problems that  
face us.  We can't even work out a way to repair our bridges before  
they fall down, much less take on bigger problems like health care and  
our long-term structural deficits.  I think as a nation we're doomed  
to decline as government becomes bound up by the ossified political  
fights that make it less and less effective every year.

Heck, one of the reasons I don't fear foreign influence over elections  
is, what would it accomplish, exactly?  Our political system is no  
longer *capable* of making sweeping changes.  You might argue they'd  
undermine American values, but what values?  We don't really stand for  
anything anymore; we torture and detain people without trial just like  
dozens of other countries.  Our one remaining source of national pride  
is that we have the largest military in the world and can kick any  
other country's ass.

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