You heard that the US Supreme Court last week overturned limits on corporations using their own money to support or oppose candidates for public office?
By 5-4 vote, the court overturned federal laws, in effect for decades, that prevented corporations from using their profits to buy political campaign ads. The decision, which almost certainly will also allow labor unions to participate more freely in campaigns, threatens similar limits imposed by 24 states.
It leaves in place a ban prohibiting corporations and unions from directly contributing funds to candidates for any use.
Some of the present politicians made a bit of noise about countering the ruling, although with little hope:
President Barack Obama said that the decision gives ‘a green light to a new stampede of special interest money in our politics.’ The president pledged to work with Congress to ‘develop a forceful response’ to the court’s ruling.
Ha, ha, ha. “Forceful”. Sure it will be.
I was going to write a more detailed response to this but Max Barry’s piece about lawnmowers really sums it up (but you’d have to read his post for the analogy to make sense). And I thought this paragraph about the oft-noticed but never effectively opposed nature of “The Corporation” was worthy of further discussion:
It’s interesting to note how corporations get to pick and choose the good parts of being a person. They can own property but can’t go to prison. They can sue you into bankruptcy, which you have to live with for the rest of your life, but if you win a big case against them, you get nothing while they reconstitute their assets and arise, Phoenix-like, under a new name. If you misbehave, you are personally responsible; a corporation jettisons a minor component it says was to blame. There is no ending them. This is the kind of personhood you would choose, if you could. It’s what happens when people making laws about corporations are themselves beholden to corporations.
It’s funny – the defenders of corporate “rights” would be as far from dewy-eyed idealists as you can imagine, and yet they expect us to just trust that immensely wealthy entities with all the power but none of the responsibilities of actual human beings, whose sole purpose is to drive out profit from the world around them, will somehow all work out for the best. That we, the people from whom this profit will be made, have nothing to worry about.
I wonder if they believe in Santa, too.
UPDATE: Keith Olbermann even worries about what will happen to Glenn Beck and the “Tea Party”ers in this new regime.
UPDATE #2: The staggeringly ironic tagline of the conservative lobby group that pushed for this decision:
That seems to make no sense, until you realise that they think corporations are “citizens”.
Elsewhere, the National Review tries to put a positive spin on the decision. They trust their fellow Americans to see through “seductive messages put out by sinister, powerful interests” – why don’t you?