TBD on Ning

Corporations will be electing our leaders from now on. As I understand it, there is no cap on what can be spent to elect future nominees. Too many stupid voters will fall for the advertisements, resulting in votes going the way of special interests.


I believe a better way would be to outlaw all political advertising. Instead, the voters could choose more wisely if the government sponsored live television debates during election season, even paying the way to the debates for qualified nominees.

Tags: from-bad-to-worse

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Nick's response gave me a little hope. I remember the Bloomburg campaign and how he nearly lost after all that money spent. Otherwise, there has been little good news at all, lately.
As if Corporate Amerika didn't already have a tight enough grip on our government.
I wonder if corporations are going to find that they lose some customers over their backing of a certain political party....
Anyway you look at it, it’s a mess.
I just wish people would stop ripping corporations.
Villains don’t hire people.
Our state is trying to run INTEL out.
They could find a nice home in INDIA where people would like them.
That is where IBM moved to.
........ As long as any advertisement discloses the source of the money spent, I have no problem with it. I'm not interested in restricting the political speech of any of my countrymen. Whether they be corporate or individuals. When enough folks disagree with certain ads, they can join together and create their own ads with rebuttals ......... Is a union a corporation? Is George Soros ? .......... If the varieties of media political ads are restricted, then daily, the New York Times, most big city papers,CNN, MSNBC, CBS ABC, NBC, Jon Stewart, SNL, etc, will present their ads in the guise of news and entertainment. That is on the left side. On the right side you got Fox, The Wall Street Journal and conservative talk radio, with their bias ..... I know we shouldn't be so lazy and apathetic, as to not do are own research, but to not allow the free flow of ideas scares me more then any large company trying to persuade others for the benefit of their corporation ......... When a politician goes against the good of his constituents because of favors received from business, that's a different story and the pol should be held accountable ....
I will be interested to see how THE ECONOMIST weighs in on this issue.
Nick, I do not doubt what you are saying about the polls. However, if money has so little effect on the outcome, why are politicians spending so much time raising money. I think the only possible solution is public financing of elections. Of course there will always be individuals trying to game the rules. But, then at least it would be harder for unions, corporation and special interest groups. Two things I have never understood;1. how can money be equated with free speech/
2. Why can't we see that corporations no longer deserve the same rights as individuals?
However, if money has so little effect on the outcome, why are politicians spending so much time raising money.

For the same reason athletes take Human Growth Hormone when every study on it has shown that it confers absolutely no benefit to athletic performance. Facts oftne finish second to belief. there is little doubt that money is necessary to run a successful campaign. Or, rahter, that lack of money is critical. But after a certain point, money becomes not only meaningless but often works against the person spending it. Again, think of your own experience. Haven't you reached a point where you think, "If I see one more ad for this bum, I'll vote for his opponent?" I certainly have (not to mention the phone calls to the house)

By the way, from today's NY Times (Week in Review)

Does Corporate Money Lead to Political Corruption?

WASHINGTON — “There are two things that are important in politics,” Mark Hanna, the great Republican kingmaker of the late 19th century, once said. “The first thing is money, and I can’t remember what the second one is.”

What was true in Hanna’s century remained true in the next, and since the Watergate scandal of the 1970s, Congress has imposed stricter regulations on money in politics. Advocates of those rules argue that they rein in corruption and increase public trust in government.

But after more than three decades, has the system made a difference?

The question took on new urgency last week as the Supreme Court threw out regulations that prohibited corporations from buying campaign commercials that explicitly advocate the election or defeat of candidates. Democrats called the ruling a threat to democracy; Republicans cheered it as a victory for free speech.

Legal scholars and social scientists say the evidence is meager, at best, that the post-Watergate campaign finance system has accomplished the broad goals its supporters asserted.

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy noted in his opinion that no evidence was marshaled in 100,000 pages of legal briefs to show that unrestricted campaign money ever bought a lawmaker’s vote. And even after Congress further tightened the rules with the landmark McCain-Feingold law in 2002, banning hundreds of millions of dollars in unlimited contributions to the political parties, public trust in government fell to new lows, according to polls.

And what about the corporations that contributed so much of that money? A review of the biggest corporate donors found that their stock prices were unaffected after they stopped giving to the parties. The results suggest that those companies did not lose their influence and may have been giving “because they were shaken down by politicians,” said Nathaniel Persily, a professor at Columbia Law School who has studied the law’s impact.

“There is no evidence that stricter campaign finance rules reduce corruption or raise positive assessments of government,” said Kenneth Mayer, a professor of political science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “It seems like such an obvious relationship but it has proven impossible to prove.”

It is not merely an academic question. The Supreme Court has consistently said that only fighting corruption or the appearance of corruption justifies laws that restrict political spending. Other rationales — like leveling the playing field between the haves and have-nots — are not enough.

Defenders of the rules say their case for tighter restrictions on campaign money is obvious to anyone who knows Washington. Private influence-seekers shower big contributions on politicians because they want to gain access and shape policy; they would not spend the money if they got nothing in return.

But even supporters of the rules acknowledge that the benefits can be hard to measure. “I happen to think the campaign finance laws have done some modest good,” said Richard L. Hasen, an expert on political law at the Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. “How much good? We may soon find out,” he added, in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s ruling on Thursday in Citizens United v. the Federal Election Commission.

Supporters of the restrictions point to Britain to show that governments can police corruption without imperiling free speech. Britain started regulating political spending as far back as 1883 and has tightened the rules steadily ever since.

Those British restrictions would violate the Supreme Court’s view of the First Amendment, yet Britain’s political debates are as robust as they are in the United States.

Opponents of restrictions, on the other hand, point out that Australia barely regulates political money. Individuals and corporations can give without limit. Parties can spend freely. And there is not much disclosure about who gives what to whom. But political corruption has not threatened a vibrant democracy there.

In the United States, studies comparing states like Virginia with scant regulation against those like Wisconsin with strict rules have not found much difference in levels of corruption or public trust, several scholars said. Jeff Milyo, an economist at the University of Missouri, has compared states with strict bans on corporate contributions to political parties against those with no limits at all. “There is just no good evidence that campaign finance laws have any effect on actual corruption,” he said.

The most insistent advocates of the campaign finance laws argue that the benefits are real even if academics can’t measure them. Fred Wertheimer, the dean of campaign finance “reformers,” pointed to the presidential campaign finance system as the best example of success. For five elections beginning in 1976, the presidential candidates of both major parties took public financing and did not receive private campaign contributions. “You can’t prove a negative,” Mr. Wertheimer said, “but in the Carter and Reagan presidencies there were no news stories about campaign contributions influencing presidential decisions.”

By the 2008 election, however, that system had grown obsolete. Candidates could raise far more from private donors, and President Obama became the first major candidate since Richard M. Nixon to win election without public money.

Polls have shown that relatively few people understand or are even aware of the campaign finance rules. Those who are aware of them usually assume that smart donors will be able to steer around the rules. But Mr. Wertheimer said that a cat-and-mouse game of election rule-makers forever trying to catch up with the latest evasions by big money donors was only natural, “part of the ongoing battle to prevent government corruption.”

But some politicians say reformers like Mr. Wertheimer are unrealistic about how money and politicians mix. They cite an old political maxim, attributed in a more vulgar form to the onetime California kingpin Jesse Unruh: If you can’t take their money and vote against them, you don’t belong in politics.

(Italics are mine)
I think Our nation Is is deep trouble So many of these corporations our international and owned buy other nations The Court in it over sleaziest ness to try to get the conservative point of view back in charge of this nation they have opened up Pandora's box and I wounder If we will ever get it closed again !
Actually, this goes to show just how big a joke the judicial branch is. Note how all parties always make a big deal about stare decisis when it is time to confirm a new judge in the Senate? For those that don’t know, stare decisis is just a legal term that means to follow what went before. In other words, to follow prior precedents.

As those who have read the case know, the basis of the Court’s decision is that corporations are protected under the First Amendment of the Constitution. The problem I have is that in the Bob Jones University case, the Court held that because the University was incorporated, it did not have rights; only privileges and that as such, it could be regulated to whatever extent the government determined. The government had objected to what the University was teaching. The University argued that it had a right to teach the religious principles it believed and that it’s teachings were protected by the First Amendment. The Court rejected this argument holding that corporations only have privileges. I can accept the Court’s decision against the University – and I will let the Court itself speak for itself from a case prior to the University case. (Kind of a long quote; but well worth the reading.) As you read this, think about how individual rights have been more and more encroached upon by the government.

“We are of the opinion that there is a clear distinction between an individual and a corporation, and that the latter has no right to refuse to submit its books and papers for an examination at the suit of the state. The individual may stand upon his constitutional rights as a citizen. He is entitled to carry on his private business in his own way. His power to contract is unlimited. He owes no duty to the state or to his neighbors to divulge his business, or to open his doors to an investigation, so far as it may tend to criminate him. He owes no such duty to the state, since he receives nothing therefrom, beyond the protection of his life and property. His rights are such as existed by the law of the land long antecedent to the organization of the state, and can only be taken from him by due process of law, and in accordance with the Constitution. Among his rights are a refusal to incriminate himself, and the immunity of himself and his property from arrest or seizure except under a warrant of the law. He owes nothing to the public so long as he does not trespass upon their rights.”
“Upon the other hand, the corporation is a creature of the state. It is presumed to be incorporated for the benefit of the public. It receives certain special privileges and franchises, and holds them subject to the laws of the state and the limitations of its charter. Its powers are limited by law. It can make no contract not authorized by its charter. Its rights to act as a corporation are only preserved to it so long as it obeys the laws of its creation. There is a reserved right in the legislature to investigate its contracts and find out whether it has exceeded its powers. It would be a strange anomaly to hold that a state, having chartered a corporation to make use of certain franchises, could not, in the exercise of its sovereignty, inquire how these franchises had been employed, and whether they had been abused, and demand the production of the corporate books and papers for that purpose. The defense amounts to this: That an officer of a corporation which is charged with a criminal violation of the statute, may plead the criminality of such corporation as a refusal to produce its books. To state this proposition is to answer it. While an individual may lawfully refuse to answer incriminating questions unless protected by an immunity statute, it does not follow that a corporation, vested with special privileges and franchises, may refuse to show its hand when charged with an abuse of such privileges.”
“It is true that the corporation in this case was chartered under the laws of New Jersey, and that it receives its franchise from the legislature of that state; but such franchises, so far as they involve questions of interstate commerce, must also be exercised in subordination to the power of Congress to regulate such commerce, and in respect to this the general government may also assert a sovereign authority to ascertain whether such franchises have been exercised in a lawful manner, with a due regard to its own laws. Being subject to this dual sovereignty, the general government possesses the same right to see that its own laws are respected as the state would have with respect to the special franchises vested in it by the laws of the state. The powers of the general government in this particular in the vindication of its own laws are the same as if the corporation had been created by an act of Congress.” Hale v. Henkel, 201 U.S. 43




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