Patterico's Pontifications

1/21/2010

Why Yesterday’s Supreme Court Decision Was Right — A Rant

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 11:19 pm



I had to run out the door yesterday just after that wonderful Supreme Court decision came down, so I didn’t have time to write a little tribute to it. But it’s thrilling to see free speech reaffirmed like that, and I think I should explain why.

To sum it up: in the case the Supreme Court decided yesterday, the federal government tried to prevent a documentary about Hillary Clinton from being aired close to her election. The federal government tried to squelch political speech exactly when it was most needed and most effective. How? On the basis that the documentary was a corporate-funded television broadcast.

So? It’s speech. That’s what the Supreme Court recognized yesterday.

The scary implications of the movie-banners’ position became clear at oral argument when a government lawyer suggested the government could also ban corporate-funded books just before an election.

Now are you starting to see the problem? Of course, the government lawyer didn’t. He’s in the business of defending political censorship, after all. Why should it matter what form the speech we want to censor takes?

But this is oppressive and wrong. In America, we do not squelch political speech.

I have been a consistent opponent of this terrible, unconstitutional law forever. They passed this dog of a law back in 2002, and I have been railing against it since the inception of my blog in 2003, when I equated it to the repeal of the First Amendment.

In 2004, when the FEC wanted to regulate a Michael Moore movie, I was furious:

[A]dvisory counsel for the FEC has advised the Commission that, in his opinion, the McCain-Feingold law prevents Michael Moore from advertising his film “Fahrenheit 9/11″ after July 30, 2004.

I am not joking.

I’ll bet a lot of you thought I was being hysterical when I equated McCain-Feingold with the repeal of the First Amendment. How do you feel now? — now that there is a serious possibility that a filmmaker cannot advertise his film because it contains speech calculated to encourage people to oppose a sitting president?

I despise Michael Moore. But people like Kevin Murphy and me believe that jerks like Michael Moore have the right to make whatever ridiculous arguments they wish to make. And if those arguments are made in a film, and Moore or the distributor of his film wish to promote that film, they have that right under the First Amendment.

Now, the Supreme Court has recognized that right.

The Very Serious Law Professor Rick Hasen, quoted all over creation yesterday as bemoaning yesterday’s decision, once talked about whether government could take Stephen Colbert’s show away when he announced a tongue-in-cheek campaign for the presidency. I called his post “a very sober discussion — you can almost visualize Hasen furrowing his brow as he taps out the post — of whether someone can exercise his core First Amendment rights without running afoul of the blatantly unconstitutional obstacles that Our Caring Government has put in our way.”

This is how insane the pro-censorship crowd gets.

You have to defend these principles for the other guy — because if you don’t, you’ll lose them for yourself. Democrats tried to use this ridiculous law to squelch the speech of Swift Boat Vets in 2004. Democrats are notorious anti-free speech thugs, as they have repeatedly proven. No wonder Barack Obama is upset about yesterday’s decision. It removes the power of his Executive Branch to go around stamping out dissent — which he would sorely love to do under the rubric of “campaign finance reform.”

Sorry, Barry. Won’t wash. You’ll have to find some other excuse.

To those who claim that money is not speech, I explained in 2003:

[T]he First Amendment is incompatible with this sort of legislation.

Let me make this as clear as I can. If I want to run an ad saying George Bush (or, if I am clinically insane, Howard Dean) is the greatest thing to happen to the world since sliced bread, there is this thing called the First Amendment that says I can do that. If I want to spread that message on full-page ads in every newspaper in the United States, I can do that, no matter the cost. I don’t think any of this is subject to debate.

Of course, doing so takes money — but in the real world, it takes money to effectively communicate speech. Simon at Stubborn Facts quotes a wonderful explanation by Justice Scalia from an earlier case:

In any economy operated on even the most rudimentary principles of division of labor, effective public communication requires the speaker to make use of the services of others. An author may write a novel, but he will seldom publish and distribute it himself. A freelance reporter may write a story, but he will rarely edit, print, and deliver it to subscribers. To a government bent on suppressing speech, this mode of organization presents opportunities: Control any cog in the machine, and you can halt the whole apparatus. License printers, and it matters little whether authors are still free to write. Restrict the sale of books, and it matters little who prints them.

. . . . [W]here the government singles out money used to fund speech as its legislative object, it is acting against speech as such, no less than if it had targeted the paper on which a book was printed or the trucks that deliver it to the bookstore.

. . . .

It should be obvious, then, that a law limiting the amount a person can spend to broadcast his political views is a direct restriction on speech. That is no different from a law limiting the amount a newspaper can pay its editorial staff or the amount a charity can pay its leafletters. It is equally clear that a limit on the amount a candidate can raise from any one individual for the purpose of speaking is also a direct limitation on speech. That is no different from a law limiting the amount a publisher can accept from any one shareholder or lender, or the amount a newspaper can charge any one advertiser or customer.

Bingo.

Yesterday’s decision doesn’t cure all the ills of campaign finance reform laws. There still exist laws against speech in coordination with political campaigns — laws which the Court continues to regard as constitutional, but which I believe are not. The government still from time to time asserts a supposed power to regulate bloggers. Most recently, they have purported to require disclosure of payment for products one endorses. They talk about giving a “media exemption” for us bloggers to say what we like about political candidates without having our posts be considered political contributions. In all cases, Our Government Overlords assert the right to regulate bloggers in ways they wouldn’t dare try to regulate the press.

They can go to hell. I won’t follow their unconstitutional rules. I will do what I would do absent their rules. I will not beg for a media exemption or sign petitions begging for the rights that are already mine. I say here plainly that I won’t. Instead, I take a simple pledge:

If the FEC makes rules that limit my First Amendment right to express my opinion on core political issues, I will not obey those rules.

I reaffirm that here.

Yesterday’s decision was a step in right direction. But it did not end the tyranny of those who seek who use government’s power to shut us up. We will have to keep fighting the battle.

But it’s a lot easier today than it was on Wednesday.

216 Responses to “Why Yesterday’s Supreme Court Decision Was Right — A Rant”

  1. Just as Bill Clinton’s rich contributors put an end to the notion that “only Republicans are rich,” I fully expect many folks to be surprised to find out that all corporations aren’t conservative or Republican.

    Neo (7830e6)

  2. That’s why I said yesterday that this isn’t about partisan advantage. For all I know, Democrats might benefit from this decision more than Republicans.

    That is not a reason to oppose free speech. I support freedom of the press even though Democrats control Big Media. See what I mean?

    Patterico (c218bd)

  3. Hey, The SCOTUS ruled exactly the way that the ACLU amicus brief had suggested.

    Neo (7830e6)

  4. Hear, Hear, Patterico. Thanks for this impassioned defense of our 1st Amendment.

    Some chump (d97978)

  5. “There still exist laws against speech in coordination with political campaigns — laws which the Court continues to regard as constitutional, but which I believe are not.”

    The constitution only means what our 9 robed masters tell us it means … and some of them are not bound by the words actually found on the paper.

    quasimodo (4af144)

  6. Free speech, what is most protected is political speech.

    An impassioned view of the 1st Amendment.

    Now on to the Second Amendment and the ‘duck hunting defense’.

    bill-tb (541ea9)

  7. I took some time to read through most of the opinions yesterday, and I could write pages of commentary about what I found to be significant.

    Most importantly, I think the majority view that is completely ignored by the minority and the critics of the outcome is the proposition that it is a violation of the Constitution to force a person or entity to wade through a regulatory morass simply to gain the approval to exercise a right enshrined in the First Amendment.

    Why should a corporation, union, or any other non-individual, have to run the gamut of the FEC’s rules and regulations on campaign advertising before being “allowed” to exercise the right to free speech that they possess?

    The statutory scheme and regulatory system resulting from that statutory framework compelled that any such exercise of free speech rights be limited to that which was authorized by law, subject to penalty of criminal sanction for failure to comply.

    But nothing in the First Amendment suggests that the Framers intended the rights enumerated there to be subject to regulatory restrictions — created by the very politicians who might feel at risk from the speech they sought to control.

    WLS Shipwrecked (3d3fb8)

  8. Why should a corporation, union, or any other non-individual, have to run the gamut of the FEC’s rules and regulations on campaign advertising before being “allowed” to exercise the right to free speech that they possess?

    Imagine this.

    A far-right President wins an election. The new President immediately censors the New York Times, the Washington Post, and MS-NBC on the basis that they are corporations.

    The Supreme Court’s ruling made it much more difficult for a President to get away with such a thing.

    Secret Squirrel (6a1582)

  9. Its outrageous that this was not a 9-0 decision, frankly.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  10. Consider this piece of asinine analysis from the very beginning of the dissent by Stevens:

    The basic premise underlying the Court’s ruling is its iteration, and constant reiteration, of the proposition that
    the First Amendment bars regulatory distinctions based on a speaker’s identity, including its “identity” as a corpo­
    ration. While that glittering generality has rhetorical
    appeal, it is not a correct statement of the law.

    That the “First Amendment bars regulatory distinctions’ is “not a correct statement of the law” — really??

    See, the First Amendment I’m familiar with starts with the phrase “Congress shall make no law….”

    How do “regulatory distinctions” get out from under “Congress shall make no law”??

    That is the basic foundational problem with the dissent’s analysis. It assumes that because Congress is in the habit of making such laws, and because prior members of the Court have countenanced the making of such laws — even to the extent of allowing a regulatory stranglehold to be imposed on all manner of political speech through various campaign finance laws — that the First Amendment’s language doesn’t mean what it clearly means.

    SCOTUS under John Roberts over the next 25 years is going to be unlike the SCOTUS that the liberals are familiar with. His concurrence establishes the intellectual framework for revisiting and reversing a generations worth of unconstitutional SCOTUS decisions.

    WLS Shipwrecked (3d3fb8)

  11. ” If the FEC makes rules that limit my First Amendment right to express my opinion on core political issues, I will not obey those rules.”

    Would it be possible for all people to live by this principle, but for us to still have regulations on corporate speech? Because i’m concerned that corporations might not have enough of a say in our society.

    imdw (6951c3)

  12. I think the original goal of the bill was to limit campaign financing. They saw the huge expenditures in some campaigns as a bad thing. I don’t disagree with that assessment. But the market will account for this, given time. The internet certainly helps level the playing field: it is inexpensive to use and ubiquitous.
    I’m still digesting the ramifications. What might we see this fall? In 2012? (If we make it that far)

    Corwin (ea9428)

  13. “Its outrageous that this was not a 9-0 decision, frankly.”

    It just shows how corrupt our “intellectual” elites are.

    Not “go to hell”, but “!@#% go to hell right now”.

    pst314 (672ba2)

  14. In all cases, Our Government Overlords assert the right to regulate bloggers in ways they wouldn’t dare try to regulate the press.

    Something I am curious about is what type of protection bloggers should expect versus what the current rules are in regards to sources of information. I suspect that if people had more confidence in protection of their anonymity bloggers might get more inside source information such as mainstream journalists get.

    voiceofreason2 (8e6b90)

  15. Thanks for the great post Patterico. I’m proudly crediting Cornell, a bastion of free political speech if ever there was one for training you well. The four justices who incredibly voted in favor of squelching free speech should explain themselves.

    MTF (a20706)

  16. Imdw,

    I get it. There are certain entities that you think have too
    much influence and you would like to limit their speech.

    Me, I think the LAT has too much influence. Can I censor it now?

    You are with the book-banners and film banners. I’m against them.

    Yeah, it’s that simple.

    Patterico (e8bb75)

  17. You’ll have to find some other excuse.

    That’s my main concern after this ruling, honestly. Good news, but I have no doubt that this administration will find something else to try to stifle dissent.

    BTW, quite a shocka to find that the hallowed “Wise Latina” was on the wrong side of this one – we all better get used to it. Someone tell me again why Clarence Thomas was supposedly unqualified, but this woman was?

    Dmac (539341)

  18. Dmac – i had a problem with the wise latino when she got a simple statute of limitation issue wrong in the eniment domain takings case she was involved in. A first year law student would flunk the course getting an easy statute of limitations case that wrong.

    Joe (5e0a70)

  19. imdw

    Corporations are made up of people and organizations – utlimately again owned by people who all own the stock

    They are not a “thing” but a groups – rather large group – of investors

    EricPWJohnson (83a5e3)

  20. Well said, Patrick – you prospective scoflaw, you!

    AD - RtR/OS! (f0e19b)

  21. ^You’re making the common mistake of attempting to explain to the Trollbot why capitalism is a good thing and not an evil enslavement of all mankind. The Trollbot has made it abundantly clear that not only has it never held an actual job in the private sector, it believes that the government is the key to solving every problem that afflicts the US citizen. IOW, it either works for the Post Office or is in it’s 10th year of grad school.

    Dmac (539341)

  22. I wonder if the NY Times etc would be supportive of a law that prevented the corporate-owned press from publishing any article or option that might influence voters in a period preceding an election.

    If money is not speech, is money press?

    Of course, since most blogs are not corporate-owned, it wouldn’t affect us…..

    Kevin Murphy (3c3db0)

  23. It is absolutely frightening, 9 and 13, that the decision was 5 to 4, particularly with our newest justice voting with the minority.

    sam (1a8310)

  24. Even in Canada:

    Provisions in the controversial law restricting third-party spending on political advertising in provincial elections were struck down this afternoon by the Supreme Court of British Columbia.

    Bill 42 was ruled to be a constitutional violation of free speech rights. The full written decision is expected to be released Monday.

    The legislation restricted third-party spending to no more than $3000 in one electoral district and $150,000 province-wide.

    The unions involved in bringing the case to the Supreme Court included the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation and the British Columbia Nurses’ Union.

    “It’s a victory for free speech,” Irene Lanzinger, president of the BCTF told The Hook.

    “We felt very strongly that the Liberals were attempting to restrict our right to free speech before the election,” she said.

    Kevin Murphy (3c3db0)

  25. “You are with the book-banners and film banners. I’m against them.”

    I think you have my concern backwards. I was worried corporate entities had not enough influence. Now my worries have been alleviated.

    What’s your take on disclosure requirements? Is that oppressive government mandating speech?

    “Someone tell me again why Clarence Thomas was supposedly unqualified, but this woman was?”

    If being on the losing side of a 5-4 decision makes someone unqualified, what does Thomas’s 8-1 part of this opinion make him?

    “They are not a “thing” but a groups – rather large group – of investors”

    Right. So I’m thinking how would it look if we regulated the group behavior, but left individual action alone. That might get closer to how the founders viewed speech. Specially corporate speech.

    [note: fished from spam filter. –Stashiu]

    imdw (dba501)

  26. Its outrageous that this was not a 9-0 decision, frankly.

    Comment by SPQR

    Others have and will agree… this is indeed outrageous. The president and the media also…

    They have exempted “traditional journalism” from their cancellation of the first amendment. And of course, they don’t consider consistent critics to be journalism.

    They will go as far as they can get away with. Why this wouldn’t send Obama’s polls to zero overnight is also outrageous to me. But then, Mccain, the alternative to Obama, also does not get the total and necessary value of letting anyone say what they want about politicians.

    It’s amazing to me that many in the media actually support this restriction!

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  27. So, the first 2 articles of the Bill of Rights hang by a 5-4 vote. The 9th and 10th Amendments still don’t exist and the 8th Amendment is misread in the extreme (“and” read as “or”) and in any event subject to world opinion.

    When Stevens retires, the Republicans need to seriously consider the 1st and 2nd Amendment attitudes of the appointee. Of course, filibustering judges would bring down the wrath of the NY Times.

    Kevin Murphy (3c3db0)

  28. Corporations are made up of people and organizations – utlimately again owned by people who all own the stock

    They are not a “thing” but a groups – rather large group – of investors

    True, and now agents of foreign governments, and foreign governments themselves, are free to inject themselves into our political campaigns. I’m sure that CIC, ADIA, SAMA and the governments they represent are overjoyed that they can now spend unlimited advertising money to sway US elections.

    mlb (aeef18)

  29. This is a good opinion piece on it. money quote:

    > Forget for the moment the broad characterization of the ruling — such as The New York Times claim that it “sweep[s] aside a century-old understanding” — and drill down to the individual case in question.

    > Citizens United, a conservative 501(c)(4) nonprofit that has funded a dozen political documentaries over the years, produced a critical documentary about Hillary Clinton in 2008 entitled “Hillary: The Movie.” By a decision of the federal government, which was enforcing the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (known more broadly as McCain-Feingold), this piece of political speech was banned from television.

    > Let’s boil it down to the essential words: Political documentary, banned, government.

    > You don’t have to be a First Amendment purist to intuit that political speech was, if anything, the most urgent subcategory covered by the First Amendment’s “Congress shall pass no law” restrictions. And you don’t have to be a Hillary-hater to imagine the shoe on the other foot. What if MoveOn.org’s 501(c)(4), Campaign to Defend America, had been blocked by George W. Bush’s Federal Elections Commission from broadcasting “McCain: The Movie”? Wouldn’t that stink, too?

    and on cnn of all places… crazy. http://www.cnn.com/2010/OPINION/01/21/welch.free.expression.campaign/index.html

    A.W. (e7d72e)

  30. What’s the point of freedom of assembly, if once you assemble, you are no longer given your civil rights?

    That’s just dumb. While many huge companies favor democrats, it’s often just because they find it lucrative, which is not the kind of loyalty the democrats have from their unions and media machine.

    This tips the scales a little away from union and media influence. That’s what scares the hell out of democrats. But really, to the point of abandoning free speech? That’s pathetic.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  31. It’s amazing to me that many in the media actually support this restriction!

    Unprincipled self-interest causes folks to do disreputable things. The media who support it think the restriction puts them above everyone else, and they like it that way.

    This is a wonderful, wonderful, decision in favor of free speech. And a post worthy of the decision.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (9eb641)

  32. quas

    > The constitution only means what our 9 robed masters tell us it means … and some of them are not bound by the words actually found on the paper

    Well, while I will never pretend that kennedy is a constitutionalist after Kennedy v. LA, the majority did what the framers wanted. Except I think Thomas makes a few good points, too.

    spqr

    > Its outrageous that this was not a 9-0 decision, frankly.

    Or at least 7-2. Agree wholeheartedly.

    Ship

    > See, the First Amendment I’m familiar with starts with the phrase “Congress shall make no law….”

    To me that says congress is not allowed to get into the speech business, period. I can grit my teeth with fire in a movie theater exceptions, but McCain Feingold was un-American.

    Imdw

    > Because i’m concerned that corporations might not have enough of a say in our society.

    Yeah, sarcasm noted, and notice you want to selectively silence others. How would you like it if I said that democrats had too much of a say in our society?

    Or how about labor unions?

    Or how about newspapers?

    Am I hitting something you think ought to be free. This is not about deciding who has enough or two much say, but who do you trust to make that call? If you trust congress to make sure that our elections are sufficiently free, you’re an idiot.

    Dustin

    > And of course, they don’t consider consistent critics to be journalism.

    Indeed, remember the bit when they claimed fox was not a real news network. My thoughts and fears at the time would be that they would try to ban it just like “Hillary: the Movie.” Now that isn’t possible anymore.

    I am having such a great week. Health care died. So did Air America. And so did McCain Feingold, mostly. And while I am sad about conan going off the air, he has been hilarious all week. Oh, and Copenhagen is collapsing. Really, i think the only thing that could top it is if Sarah Palin personally flies to Afghanistan, tracks and then shoots Osama bin Laden and brings back his head on a pike like a warrior princess. :-)

    A.W. (e7d72e)

  33. Great post. I’m spreading it on Facebook to combat the liberals I’ve been arguing with all morning about this very subject.

    h2u (dec0f9)

  34. Patterico,

    What’s your opinion on Obama’s enforcement of intellectual property rights?

    Excellent post, I’m crossposting, thanks.

    Veronica (0c1c6e)

  35. Re: 22

    The details on this may be off slightly, but if I recall even a little correctly…

    There was a case a few years back where Johnnie Cochran (yes, that Johnnie Cochran) had sued and won a slander judgment against guy who was insolvent. Because the insolvent guy couldn’t pay the judgment against him, Cochran had received an injunction against the man barring him from saying anything about Cochran.

    That is, because the man had no money, he was not allowed to speak.

    The case was working its way through the appellate courts when it was mooted by Cochran’s death.

    It would’ve been interesting to see how Stevens and his cohort on the Court would’ve come down on that case.

    Hoystory (a394a8)

  36. I expect Chinese corporate contributions to tilt to the conservative side. They have too much invested in the country to want it to fail.

    icr (304f90)

  37. Interesting that nobody’s complaining about ‘activist’ judges in this case, despite the fact that the original case wasn’t about this.

    I wonder if anyone has considered the possibility that foreign companies might be able to influence our elections because of this ruling?

    PS. Please don’t anyone insult my intelligence talking about ‘American’ companies. All the real big boys play internationally and couldn’t give a rat’s ass about America.

    JEA (dffa7e)

  38. #35

    The California Supreme Court subsequently dealt with exactly that same issue in Balboa Island Village Inn, Inc. v. Leman.

    In that case, like in the Cochran case, a very broad injunction was handed down against an insolvent individual who repeatedly defamed a neighboring restaurant. The California Supreme Court ruled that (a) the injunction was too broad as it barred the defendant from saying anying about the restaurant, BUT (b) an injunction barring her from repeating the statements found to be defamatory would be OK. SCOTUS declined to review that case, so I think that is where the law is.

    Cyrus Sanai (311cd8)

  39. Interesting that nobody’s complaining about ‘activist’ judges in this case, despite the fact that the original case wasn’t about this.

    While I’m generally in favor of this decision, I have commented about it being activist (at commonsensepoliticalthought.com, IIRC) – the decision could have been rendered on narrower grounds, and the change in the law is effectively the result of the change of a single Supreme Court Justice.

    I wonder if anyone has considered the possibility that foreign companies might be able to influence our elections because of this ruling?

    Of course they can.

    But … ‘Congress shall make no law’ means Congress shall make no law. And I imagine that as long as disclosure requirements stand, the American public will be resistant to influence by foreign corporations.

    aphrael (73ebe9)

  40. “And I imagine that as long as disclosure requirements stand, the American public will be resistant to influence by foreign corporations.”

    Exactly. The solution to speech you don’t like isn’t to ban it… it’s to speak about it.

    It isn’t to demonize the speaker or lie about the speaker or ban the speaker… just speak about it. Pat Robertson didn’t have to be banned or demonized over his Haiti speech… it was probably a good thing that he said what he did so people who think about that stuff could discuss it.

    If China or Russia wants to support a candidate, let them buy a damn commercial, and if someone has a problem with it, let them buy a damn commercial. It’s getting to the point where youtube is a better way to get the word out, anyway.

    Aphrael, do you have a blog?

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  41. Dustin: I have had a blog in the past, but I haven’t posted to it for long enough that it’s effectively dead.

    I’m a juror here, so if I really want to post something I can on the jury page, but between working full time, going to school 2/3 time, and being married, actually posting regularly enough to maintain an audience is just not an option for now.

    Pat Robertson didn’t have to be banned or demonized over his Haiti speech

    Oh, on the contrary, I think it was quite appropriate to demonize him for that. :)

    aphrael (73ebe9)

  42. JEA

    > Interesting that nobody’s complaining about ‘activist’ judges in this case,

    Yes, you will be amazed how conservatives get quiet about judicial activism when judges uphold the first constitution.

    > despite the fact that the original case wasn’t about this.

    So they were supposed to rule that yes, this was electioneering, and yes, this was banned under McCain Fiengold, without bringing up that this means that McCain Feingold is unconstitutional? The supreme court is supposed to rule based on all the laws, not just the laws the parties bring up.

    And I am sick and tired of the left trying to redefine activism. When conservatives talk about activism, they talk about deviation from the constitution. But the left always likes to play this game, redefining activism in a way that has no relation to the conservative complaint and then calling conservatives hypocrites because they have not denounced activism by the idiosyncratic definition they just introduced, often for the first time, when denouncing supposed conservative hypocrisy. Who exactly do you think you are fooling?

    > I wonder if anyone has considered the possibility that foreign companies might be able to influence our elections because of this ruling?

    Well, since you guys have brought this up about 10 times, I guess we know the answer to your stupid question. indeed, the issue was even alluded to in the opinion.

    By the way, riddle me this. Given the “media” exemption, what is to stop, say, Iran, from buying a majority of the stock in GE and then as the parent company of NBC fill the airwaves with Iranian propaganda. That was legal under McCain Feingold. So you are complaining about a “problem” that your precious legislation didn’t even address.

    > All the real big boys play internationally and couldn’t give a rat’s ass about America.

    Especially the big media companies. I mean look at GE dealing with the Iranian regime.

    But go on. Please tell me why it was right to suppress Hillary: The Movie.

    A.W. (e7d72e)

  43. “Oh, on the contrary, I think it was quite appropriate to demonize him for that. :)

    Comment by aphrael ”

    Touche’, but you know what I mean. Folks didn’t have to say “this guy is not worthy of talking and we can’t let him because we are concerned he has too much influence”. Once he abused his influence, it was really easy to say “this is the problem with Pat’s POV”.

    If a corporation actually abuses its influence, it won’t be necessary to tell people that the evil corporationy corporations are not worthy of full rights. Just point out why they are wrong, of course! I realize I’m preaching to the choir.

    If you’re a juror here, that’s as good as having a blog. Hope you find the time to post to it once in a while.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  44. “Especially the big media companies. I mean look at GE dealing with the Iranian regime.”

    The ‘big’ media companies are the lapdogs of the multi-national corporations, A.W. BTW, GE is out of the broadcast business.

    “If China or Russia wants to support a candidate, let them buy a damn commercial”

    I thought conservatives believed in the America first principle???

    Welcome to the Corporate States of America.

    I find it ironic that conservatives screech like banshees about the UN interfering in America’s internal affairs, yet have absolutely no problem with some Chinese or Russian company doing the exact same thing.

    JEA (dffa7e)

  45. JEA

    JEA

    This entire “what about foreign corporations” thing is a dishonest dodge.

    McCain Feingold did nothing to address that problem. as you yourself stated:

    > The ‘big’ media companies are the lapdogs of the multi-national corporations, A.W.

    That means that we had foreign speech, by foreign corporations and/or governments. Duh. So it’s a dishonest attack on yesterday’s ruling. Yesterday’s ruling simply had nothing to do with that question.

    A.W. (e7d72e)

  46. “GE is out of the broadcast business.”

    That’s not true. They sold a controlling stake in one company, but they would never give up their power here. They are everything to everyone. Huge freight trains, infrastructure for Iranian butchers, Barbara Boxer’s favorite fighter jet engine, Friends reruns, and my alarm clock.

    The one thing GE wants is to avoid letting too many innovators compete with them. That’s why a big business might support an anti business politician. It’s like me spray pesticides that annoy me but kill the bugs around me I don’t like.

    Well, beyond my harangue, GE is hardly out of media.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  47. Aphreal — what narrower grounds?

    Did you read the Roberts concurrence? Did you understand his point?

    It’s quite hubristic for the minority to say the majority should have chosen narrower grounds, when the minority — by voting against the plaintiff — is of the opinion that even the narrower grounds were not legally sound.

    If the minority truly felt that the decision could have been made in favor of the plaintiff on narrower grounds then they were obliged to vote for the plaintiff, and write a concurrence to that effect.

    But they are not allowed to dissent, then criticize the majority for not deciding wrong — in their judgement — for what they think was a better reason.

    Shipwreckedcrew (58dde3)

  48. “The supreme court is supposed to rule based on all the laws, not just the laws the parties bring up.”

    People used to say Justice Roberts practiced “minimalism.” People were wrong.

    imdw (b67c0f)

  49. I’m pretty sure that a corporation incorporated outside the USA cannot participate directly in US politics. Still. But that’s not to say a “US” corporation that is controlled by foreign investors is similarly barred. Consider AMD.

    Kevin Murphy (805c5b)

  50. Shipwrecked – I have not yet gotten beyond about page 30 of the decision; unfortunately, yesterday was something of a crisis day at work, and what free time I had had to be used to prepare for class last night.

    I will do so.

    Kevin – I’m torn on that. On the one hand, the Congressional interest in preventing political influence by foreigners is strong. On the other hand, no law means no law … so a law banning foreign corporations would still infringe on speech and should still not be sustained.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  51. Imdw

    > People used to say Justice Roberts practiced “minimalism.” People were wrong

    Two things. First, the first amendment is different. When you leave uncertainty about your speech rights, the results go far beyond those actually censored. People should not be expected to gamble on their freedom when speaking; they should be allowed to speak freely in the certainty that they will not be arrested for speaking when they shouldn’t have.

    Second, how exactly would it have been minimalist to ignore the flagrant unconstitutionality of the ruling? I mean, lets see here. You wanted him to ignore the constitutional question, and thus rule I guess that Citizens United were rightly prevented from promoting their movie. Then they would wait until someone else came along and said the magic words (“please overturn Austin”), before actually pointing out its unconstitutionality. How is it minimalistic to tease out a rule in two cases when one would have sufficed. Not to mention the very real damage to our discourse as many groups feel stifled in the meantime. It’s a strange definition of minimalism that demands that the issue be unnecessarily dragged out.

    A.W. (e7d72e)

  52. I personally find it funny that in a left wing funded largely by George Soros, is whining about the fear of foreign influence. sheesh.

    A.W. (e7d72e)

  53. The basic fundamental flaw of this decision is that a corporation is held to be the same as an individual. They’re not.

    As an example, Exxon made $45 billion dollars in 2008. Who can compete with that? As we’ve just seen, only one person needs to be elected to change the balance of power in government. So, what if Exxon, acting in their best interests, decides to support some liberal cause?

    And don’t forget, this decision you’re all so in love with allows the unions to do it too.

    Free speech has limits. Unless you’re also in love with the idea of anarchy. That’s why we have libel laws. I can’t go out and tell everyone that Patterico is a criminal, because it’s not true.

    Corporations, by virute of their enormous resources, will now have vastly superior power than in the past, much more power than any interest group, liberal or conservative. In their corporate fervor, this court overreached.

    JEA (dffa7e)

  54. JEA, you know what, I bet publicly traded corporations would love to not be treated as individuals. Let them send their profits directly to their shareholders who are taxed on that money a single time, since it’s so convenient to the left to treat corporations as not individual legal entities.

    Of course, democrats want to have it both ways. They want to tax corporation profits twice and in various other ways hold them to account as individuals and also their shareholders as individuals. But when it’s time for corporations to express views that might change the balance from union and media domination… oh no “they aren’t individuals”. Conclusory. Just accept the democrat ruling on this because corporations aren’t legal.

    Just as Rush should give equal time to liberal POVs. He should should. Because.

    We get it.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  55. Free speech has limits. Unless you’re also in love with the idea of anarchy. That’s why we have libel laws. I can’t go out and tell everyone that Patterico is a criminal, because it’s not true.

    That’s just intellectually dishonest. This case wasn’t about libel, it was about suppression of a political opinion.

    Some chump (d97978)

  56. #53

    That assumes that the electorate is literally sheep, following whomever pays for the most ad time, regardless of ideas or positions.

    In which case, democracy is dead and we’re just waiting for the attending physician to call the time.

    Techie (43d092)

  57. It is funny that Roberts is caracatured here.

    But where would the conflict be in a total anarchist minimalist class libertarian and a total freedom of speech be?

    Well, conservatives = always status quo in my freshman poli sci class. It’s a primitive and stupid description of conservatives, but some really think a conservative is somehow a hypocrite when he goes for a basic and simple interpretation of “congress shall make no law”.

    They have a word that that: reactionary. Yep, uphold the most basic rights on the left and you are “progressive”, sending mankind up into the heavens of goodness. Do so from the right and you are reactionary, attempting to divert mankind’s ascent.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  58. ” Free speech has limits. Unless you’re also in love with the idea of anarchy. That’s why we have libel laws. I can’t go out and tell everyone that Patterico is a criminal, because it’s not true.”

    Sadly, you can libel people who are public figures very easily. I agree with the notion that this is not protected free speech, even though in practice, it is.

    Did Barack Obama really forge a birth certificate from Nigeria or wherever? Did Sarah Palin really conspire to pretend her pregnancy? Did W really plan 9/11? Did Rush really do whatever the racist claim of the week is? Nope. And if these victims of libel sue, they will lose 7 days a week and twice on days than end in Y.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  59. Comment by A.W. — 1/22/2010 @ 11:26 am

    George Soros attempting to exert influence is OK, since he’s a Naturalized Citizen.
    Rupert Murdock attempting to exert influence is not OK, because – although he’s a Naturalized Citizen – everyone knows he’s just an evil foreigner.

    AD - RtR/OS! (f0e19b)

  60. Well put.

    jpe (08c1dd)

  61. …and imadickwad is still a moronic troll.

    AD - RtR/OS! (f0e19b)

  62. Re: #59 – speaking just for myself, Mr. Soros and Mr. Murdoch are equal in their Americanness; once you naturalize, you are an American, in my book.

    I don’t like Mr. Murdoch trying to exert influence because I disagree with him, and I particularly don’t like the sensationalist style of a lot of his journalism businesses. But he has just as much right to attempt to exert influence as Mr. Soros does.

    But then, in my view, the fact that naturalizing makes someone an American is one of the strengths of our system. :)

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  63. aphrael, I don’t see our Constitution as empowering foreigners. Sure, the 14th Amendment extends most rights to mere residents, but clearly voting (and office holding) is and has been restricted to citizens, and participation in politics in general is limited to residents.

    So, I see no reason why political speech must be extended so far as to encompass overseas corporations when overseas HUMANS are pointedly excluded.

    Kevin Murphy (805c5b)

  64. Murdoch’s influence is to support Hillary Clinton. His motivation with FOX and the WSJ is to make some bloody cash.

    Roger Ailes, on the other hand, probably want to screw with the democrat media apparatus while making some bloody cash, but Murdoch is a democrat.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  65. Kevin – non-citizens who are present in the United States still have freedom of speech.

    So why wouldn’t foreign corporations with a physical presence in the United States have that same freedom?

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  66. Kevin Murphy,

    congress shall make no law restricting speech.

    that’s different from saying persons or citizens have rights against self incrimination or whathaveyou.

    It’s a limitation on the government, explicit, against restricting (political) expression. I think Aphrael is right that it applies to non-citizens.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  67. Ask Congress.

    AD - RtR/OS! (f0e19b)

  68. JEA said:

    “Free speech has limits. Unless you’re also in love with the idea of anarchy. That’s why we have libel laws. I can’t go out and tell everyone that Patterico is a criminal, because it’s not true.”

    WRONG. You can say whatever you want, you simply have to be accountable for what you say if it is not true.

    Campaign finance laws such as those struck down are a “prior restraint” — they are not allowed to say ANYTING based on their identity (union) and content (electioneering) — enforced by criminal sanction.

    Limits on free speech, to the extent they exist, concern instances where the speech itself is antithetical to a social order and does not play a role in the “exposition of ideas.”

    “It has been well observed that such utterances are no essential part of any exposition of ideas, and are of such slight social value as a step to truth that any benefit that may be derived from them is clearly outweighed by the social interest in order and morality. ‘Resort to epithets or personal abuse is not in any proper sense communication of information or opinion safeguarded by the Constitution, and its punishment as a criminal act would raise no question under that instrument.”

    Chaplinsky v. New Hampsire.

    Political speech clearly plays a role in the “exposition of ideas”. It’s up to the voter to decide for him/herself what information moves them in their voting.

    Shipwreckedcrew (58dde3)

  69. JEA

    > The basic fundamental flaw of this decision is that a corporation is held to be the same as an individual.

    First, it is not an individual, typically. It is a collection of individuals. And I challenge you to explain to me why the NAACP gathering together and sending messages collectively is okay, but a corporation doing the same thing is pernicious.

    Second, a large part of the problem is that only certain corporations were treated as non-persons. If you were the NYT Company, you were allowed to specifically endorse candidates. If you were GE, you could order Keith Olberman to rant against the target of your choice. But if you were citizens united, a corporation that seems to be in no business but advocacy, you couldn’t speak. Why not?

    Disney, owning Miramax, puts out Fahrenheit 9/11 with at worst a little hand wringing at the FEC. But Hillary the movie was against the rules. Can you explain to me why these two movies were treated differently? I mean let’s assume as a given its not partisanship (and I will say I am genuinely unsure whether it is), isn’t the extreme arbitrariness and unpredictability of the FEC’s behavior a problem for you?

    And what counts as corporate advocacy? How about when Dan Rather aired his fake memos? Was that an in-kind donation to the Kerry campaign? How about when the NYT broke the bogus missing explosives story? Indeed isn’t pretty much everything the NYT writes in politics an in-kind donation to every democrat running? They are only interesting when democrats are fighting each other, because they don’t know who to side with. But those were exempted from the coverage of McCain-Feingold. Why? All it does is give a megaphone to certain corporations over others.

    And it creates a loophole so massive you can drive a truck through it. so then the NRA creates its own channel, so they can plausibly claim their advocacy is just news. And meanwhile GE instructs its NBC lapdogs to have “green weeks” to promote the green energy initiative that the parent company hopes to make money from.

    What the book burners and the movie banners don’t get is the old lesson told by Princess Leia: the more you tighten your grip, the more star systems will slip through your fingers. So as a certain president said, unclench your fist.

    By the way, if you really want to get the corporations out of politics, adopt an attitude that the government shouldn’t control the private sector. The less the government threatens to drive companies out of business, the less interested corporations are in controlling the government.

    > And don’t forget, this decision you’re all so in love with allows the unions to do it too.

    Good.

    > Free speech has limits. Unless you’re also in love with the idea of anarchy. That’s why we have libel laws. I can’t go out and tell everyone that Patterico is a criminal, because it’s not true.

    Actually you can. You will merely be sued afterward, if they are inclined to do so. By comparison if you broke this law, you would go to jail. So it is worse under the law for a corporation to express itself, than for anyone else to defame said politician. Does that make sense to you?

    > Corporations, by virute of their enormous resources, will now have vastly superior power than in the past, much more power than any interest group, liberal or conservative. In their corporate fervor, this court overreached.

    More like McCain-Feingold overreached. Do you really think it was right to ban that movie? Really? I mean let’s not forget the facts when we discuss all this hyperbole. You have to admit that at least a law that reaches “Hillary: The Movie” is overly broad, no?

    Can you even admit that it is impossible to square banning Hillary The Movie with our first amendment?

    And the naivete on display is stunning. Do you really trust the incumbents in congress to allow for the appropriate level of criticism? So much for the principle that a person should never be the judge in their own case.

    I mean all of this is selective realism. “Corporations are bad. And having congress selectively suppress their speech is good. because you know congress is as pure as the new fallen snow.” *rolls eyes*

    Ad

    > Rupert Murdock attempting to exert influence is not OK, because – although he’s a Naturalized Citizen – everyone knows he’s just an evil foreigner

    As opposed to Soros, who intentionally devalued the dollar. Okay.

    But I admit I was under the impression he was a foreign citizen when the truth is he is merely a traitor.

    A.W. (e7d72e)

  70. And let’s be clear about something else. The opposition isn’t about the messenger, but the fear of what that message might be. If liberals believed that this would amplifying voices they supported, they would be the first to stand up for this decision.

    A.W. (e7d72e)

  71. […] Court’s decision, from Patterico’s Pontifications… here’s the opening of Why Yesterday’s Supreme Court Decision Was Right — A Rant: I had to run out the door yesterday just after that wonderful Supreme Court decision came down, so […]

    Score One for Free Speech: Supreme Court Ruled Government Can’t Ban Political Spending or Political Speech by Corporations in Elections « Frugal Café Blog Zone (a66042)

  72. The opposition isn’t about the messenger, but the fear of what that message might be. If liberals believed that this would amplifying voices they supported, they would be the first to stand up for this decision.

    I disagree. I think the fear is about the messenger; as I’ve described elsewhere, most liberals i know of a vehement aversion to corporations which has nothing to do with the actual policy preferences of those corporations.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  73. imdw- I’m thinking how would it look if we regulated the group behavior, but left individual action alone.

    A political party is an instance of “group behavior”. Are you arguing that the Democratic Party does not have free speech rights under the First Amendment?

    Subotai (14539b)

  74. aph

    > which has nothing to do with the actual policy preferences of those corporations

    I didn’t say their fear of what their speech would be is rational, but they believe corporations are eeeeeeevil, so naturally they fear what they would have to say.

    And they should be afraid. Unlike the president business by necessity have to know SOMETHING about economics.

    A.W. (e7d72e)

  75. The basic fundamental flaw of this decision is that a corporation is held to be the same as an individual.

    Suppose that Patterico decides to run this blog as a business, as many bloggers do, and incorporates it. So Patterico dot com is owned by Patterico Inc.

    Should the views he expresses on the site be subject to different legal scrutiny on that account?

    Subotai (14539b)

  76. I don’t see our Constitution as empowering foreigners. Sure, the 14th Amendment extends most rights to mere residents, but clearly voting (and office holding) is and has been restricted to citizens, and participation in politics in general is limited to residents.

    So, I see no reason why political speech must be extended so far as to encompass overseas corporations when overseas HUMANS are pointedly excluded.

    If the First Amendment said something such as “the right of the people to free speech shall not be infringed”, I’d agree with you. Or even if it said “persons”.

    But it actually says “Congress shall make no law .. abridging the freedom of speech”. There’s no wriggle room there at all.

    Subotai (14539b)

  77. I didn’t say their fear of what their speech would be is rational, but they believe corporations are eeeeeeevil, so naturally they fear what they would have to say.

    Right. My point is that this isn’t because of the content of that speech but because of a visceral dislike for the speaker.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  78. My point is that this isn’t because of the content of that speech but because of a visceral dislike for the speaker.

    Because if the left ever paid attention to the content of “speech” (meaning money) they would notice that the left itself is a much greater beneficiary of corporate “speech” than is the right.

    All sorts of left-liberal groups, from the NAACP to La Raza to the Sierra Club, receive very generous support from such corporate evil-mongers as Bank of America and Walmart.

    Subotai (14539b)

  79. “A political party is an instance of “group behavior”. Are you arguing that the Democratic Party does not have free speech rights under the First Amendment?”

    I’m saying that one could put limits on what a legal entity does in ways you cannot put limits on what an individual does. Specially when the differences between those entities and an individual would have been salient to the founders.

    imdw (017d51)

  80. > Specially when the differences between those entities and an individual would have been salient to the founders.

    Well you could make a “specially” good argument for it, if the founders said, “all persons are entitled to free speech” or something like that. but read it again. it simply tells congress not to regulate speech.

    i mean seriously, you think the founders would be okay with banning “Hillary: The Movie?” Really? i think they would be appalled.

    A.W. (e7d72e)

  81. Seriously, is there anyone who defend this ban based on these facts? can anyone here say that given that Michael Moore was allowed to put out and promote Fahrenheit 9-11, that “Hillary: The Movie” shouldn’t have been allowed?

    Because so far none of you have risen to the challenge. And that was the question before the supreme court.

    A.W. (e7d72e)

  82. I’m saying that one could put limits on what a legal entity does in ways you cannot put limits on what an individual does.

    I see that you’re saying that. I’m asking you for specific examples, such as whether you think that political parties can have such limitations placed on their speech.

    the differences between those entities and an individual would have been salient to the founders.

    I’m skeptical, but I’m also very receptive to originalist arguments, so tell me more.

    Subotai (14539b)

  83. It’s amusing how the imdw’s & JEA’s of this world associate “freedom” with “CONTROL”. For you see we must CONTROL corporations, lest they have any undue influence upon us poor uneducated common-folk.

    Anyway, these dorks should actually by rejoicing over this decision! The SCOTUS just cleared the way for Cass Sunstein’s ‘pay people to infiltrate blogs and voice the guvmint position’ plan to go into effect. Right? ‘Cause the govt is a collection of individuals, just like a corporation is . . . right?

    Icy Texan (6e3930)

  84. Subotai, i’m-a-deranged-wingnut is not going to tell you more. Following his typical pattern, he will repeat the non sequitur “the differences between those entities and an individual would have been salient to the founders” ad nauseum, as if merely saying it also explains it. And, of course, invoking the FOUNDING FATHERS does make it self-evident, does it not? They would be displeased! How do we know? Because imdw tells us so.

    The left’s position on this issue boils down to two things: 1) The perception that corporations will heavily support those pesky, deregulating, tax-lowering Republicans; 2) The basic contempt that “progressives” have for the intelligence level of the common American voter. As someone up-thread already noted, they think we are sheep — easily led to our political slaughter by whomever spends the most $$$ trying to influence us.

    Icy Texan (6e3930)

  85. Icy

    > they think we are sheep

    well, to be fair, its not like the election of 2008 would have disuaded them from that point of view.

    i mean when a huffington post writer says that they love obama so much it is inspiring them to make love, shouting yes we can at the pivotal moment, its not easy to maintain any sense of respect for such people.

    A.W. (e7d72e)

  86. “Well you could make a “specially” good argument for it, if the founders said, “all persons are entitled to free speech” or something like that. but read it again. it simply tells congress not to regulate speech.”

    Sure and how did they understand the ability of government to control corporations?

    “i mean seriously, you think the founders would be okay with banning “Hillary: The Movie?” Really? i think they would be appalled.”

    Not too long after the founding they did pass the alien and sedition acts. But you’ll note that the movie hasn’t been banned.

    “I’m skeptical, but I’m also very receptive to originalist arguments, so tell me more.”

    I’m also skeptical of originalist arguments, but the basic line here would be to look at how corporations were treated at the founding. So whether they would be part of what was intended to get free speech, or not.

    imdw (017d51)

  87. A progressive couple makes love during the ’08 campaign:

    MAN (urgently): “Hope!”
    WOMAN (yawning): “Change.”

    Icy Texan (6e3930)

  88. It was probably more like hot, Dissident Monkey – Love, but only after they threw rocks through the windows at Starbucks first , all the while screaming “Free Trade!” Ohh, baby.

    Dmac (539341)

  89. Imdw

    > Sure and how did they understand the ability of government to control corporations?

    You know what? You are the censor, so you show me where they understood they had the right to keep corporations from speaking.

    > Not too long after the founding they did pass the alien and sedition acts.

    So you are going to justify this ban using the alien and sedition acts? Wow, how quick you adopt a fascist position. I mean that law said you may not criticize anyone in office, even if the criticism was true. Do you really think that was constitutional?

    > But you’ll note that the movie hasn’t been banned.

    Lol. Sure not banned. They just couldn’t tell anyone it existed. Lol

    > but the basic line here would be to look

    You’re right. So do it. and let us know what you find, with citations. Run along little boy.

    Or are you going to just verify that everything icy Texan said about you is true?

    A.W. (e7d72e)

  90. And there you go. More non sequiturs, more raising of “questions” about what the founders would have done. Throwing out the short-lived, heavily criticized (founder vs founder), and unconstitutional Alien and Sedition Acts as some sort of “proof” that the founders intended to quash speech by corporations.

    Par for the course.

    Icy Texan (6e3930)

  91. Governments control corporations the same way the ‘control’ me. I have to obey various banking and contract laws. I have to abide the speed limit. that doesn’t mean the government can make a law infringing my speech.

    Corporations may be subject to Captain Planet’s righteous fury as well as all the statutes imposed, but a basic civil right has nothing to do with that.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  92. Me, I think the LAT has too much influence. Can I censor it now? In a way, yes. Stop reading it. Stop consuming the product. Enough people do that and it will go out of business.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  93. Well, no, DCSCA, that’s the opposite of censorship.

    You’re right, of course, that this is one good way to handle speech you dislike. Ignore it. better: speak our against it. If only that was how the crazies on both sides approached political speech.

    And the LAT will never die. Nor will the NYT. The name alone will persist to a blog, at worst. for some reason, that trademark has some value.

    Now, I have to wonder, and I really am not an expert on this, but do the owners of the Hillary movie have a Section 1983 claim against those who forced them to not advertise their venture until it was no longer timely? After all, the Hillary defending censors totally succeeded if they don’t pay a price for this.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  94. imdw

    btw, while you are looking up the founders positions, why don’t you tell me also if they understood that sometimes expression 1) cost money and 2) required a business organization to reach people. You know, because it seems self-evident that freedom of the press can be attacked not just by banning the publication of certain things, but by banning the expenditure of money by certain business organizations. if you say “no corporation may purchase ink and paper, or a web page” you silence the NYT as surely as if you simply banned newspapers. and i don’t see why the framers wouldn’t have understood that.

    A.W. (e7d72e)

  95. I’m also skeptical of originalist arguments, but the basic line here would be to look at how corporations were treated at the founding

    Why raise arguments in the same sentence in which you profess your skepticism of them? It does not seem rational.

    In any case, you’re supposed to be telling us something about how corporations were treated at the Founding.

    Subotai (56f80b)

  96. I warned you, Subotai. He is NOT going to answer the question. He will merely ask it again in a slightly rewritten form.

    Icy Texan (6e3930)

  97. Dustin

    > And the LAT will never die. Nor will the NYT.

    I won’t conceed that. i think it is very possible that they will shutter their doors.

    A.W. (e7d72e)

  98. Leave it to DCSCA to conflate a boycott with censorship.

    There’s a difference between the two, dimwit. Learn that, and then come back and talk to us.

    Some chump (36dbd5)

  99. I won’t conceed that. i think it is very possible that they will shutter their doors.

    Comment by A.W

    Of course, of course, their current model, especially for the NYT, is ridiculous. What the NYT is today… that ain’t gonna last. I think the LAT is a little more careful about money, but the same is probably true for them.

    But when they closed down they would sell their name and someone would keep it going. for the LAT, that’s not so certain. It’s not that respected. But the NYT? I think someone would pay for that trademark.

    Maybe I’m just wayyyy too optimistic. Personally, I would prefer they just accept what they are and live it to the full like the Limbaugh Letter for the Left.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  100. “Why raise arguments in the same sentence in which you profess your skepticism of them? It does not seem rational.”

    Because just because I’m skeptical doesn’t mean that people here — or on the court — might not like them.

    “So you are going to justify this ban using the alien and sedition acts? Wow, how quick you adopt a fascist position. I mean that law said you may not criticize anyone in office, even if the criticism was true. Do you really think that was constitutional?”

    Nope. I usually use it to express skepticism of originalism. So the founders may well have been ok with “banning” a movie. But that doesn’t make it constitutional.

    “You know what? You are the censor, so you show me where they understood they had the right to keep corporations from speaking.”

    Because corporate charters were tightly controlled.

    imdw (ca0b68)

  101. Not too long after the founding they did pass the alien and sedition acts

    Which were, I would note, highly controversial, and played a big part in the parties responsible for them being tossed out in the next election.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  102. IMDW – I agree that tight control of charters probably implied the power to prevent corporate political speech (although it’s not clear, because it’s problematic for the state to impose otherwise unconstitutional conditions as the price for the granting of special favors).

    But let’s grant for the moment that that’s true, for the sake of argument.

    It seems to me that the change to general incorporation means that the fundamental nature of corporations is different than it was in 1789 … and that general incorporation makes restrictions on corporate speech much more problematic – because incorporation is no longer a special favor granted to a few in exchange for something, it is effectively an entitlement available to anyone who fulfills a formality.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  103. #98- Apparently, ‘in a way’ doesn’t register well with you. It’s a means to an end, chump.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  104. Boycotting is not in any form censorship, DCSCA. Not even remotely. So, you still are wrong.

    Censorship is the act of an official to ban publication.

    Some chump (36dbd5)

  105. Let me put a finer point on it, DCSCA:

    Boycotting and forcing a company out of business is not what Patterico meant by censoring the LA Times. It’s not at all what this legal case was about.

    You know this, and you’re pretending that a boycott and a government-enforced censorship are the same thing. They’re not, and you haven’t fooled anyone here.

    Some chump (36dbd5)

  106. #104- See #103, and try to absorb the phrases ‘in a way’ and ‘a means to an end.’ Chump.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  107. just because I’m skeptical doesn’t mean that people here — or on the court — might not like them

    So you makw arguments which you yourself don’t believe in the hopes that other people will swallow them and go along with you? And you admit that?

    Subotai (56f80b)

  108. #93- Never say never. Peruse the landscape and you’ll find platforms that have vanished. ‘Air America’ passed away just yesterday. Not enough people were consuming the product… listening.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  109. IMP and iamadickwad continue their beclowning. Sad, but quite predictable.

    JD (eeacab)

  110. See #103, and try to absorb the phrases ‘in a way’ and ‘a means to an end.’

    I’ve already addressed this: boycotting is not censorship in a way. It’s not censorship in any way. And it’s not a means to an end. Further, it’s not what this case is about.

    Now be a good boy and go play in a nuclear reactor or something.

    Some chump (36dbd5)

  111. I usually use it to express skepticism of originalism. So the founders may well have been ok with “banning” a movie. But that doesn’t make it constitutional.

    Your arguments have nothing to do with originlalism. The Founders opinion on banning a movie would have been that Congress could not do it, but states could.

    But that aside, if the Founders views had been as you describe, then banning a movie would still not have been unconstitutional even if done by Congress. Unless you think that they failed to understand the Constitution that they had just written and signed off on as well as you do.

    Subotai (56f80b)

  112. #93- Never say never. Peruse the landscape and you’ll find platforms that have vanished. ‘Air America’ passed away just yesterday. Not enough people were consuming the product… listening.

    Comment by DCSCA

    You got me there. I know many of my favorite papers are simply gone, and my prediction is probably not the best one. But the NYT selling their name when it’s all said and done? I think that’s not too crazy.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  113. Interesting rant and the ‘freedom of speech’ argument does has merit. Might have carried more weight with the opposition if the ruling had not split on partisan lines, but there’s those activist judges for you. And Teddy Roosevelt most likely would have issues with it. What should alarm advocates on both sides is how the resources accessible on the scale multi-national corporations can establish the framework for any debate to begin with. Not that this isn’t happening to some degree already, but it this ruling seems to clear the way to make it all more common in times to come. Some day the electorate of State A may have a choice between conservative candidate B, selected and funded by Exxon/Mobil, moderate candidate C, funded by BP and liberal candidate D, backed by PetroChina’s CNPC. The Soviets used to claim they offered ‘choices’ in their elections, too. Comrade X of the ‘Red’ Party and Comrade Y of the ‘Pink’ Party and Comrade Z of the ‘Bayonet’ Party as it were. But then, they always seemed to have 100% turnout, too.

    This ruling all but assures that ‘government of the corporation, by the corporation and for the corporation shall not perish from the earth…’ as Walt Disney Company’s Automaton Abe might digitally say one day.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  114. #112- Agreed. It’s easy to see the brand name being more valuable than the core product.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  115. Quite obviously, DCSCA does not understand the ruling at all.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  116. “government of the corporation, by the corporation and for the corporation”

    And of course, this is a good thing. we want employers to be healthy and well represented. We want our banks and businesses to thrive. They are on our side.

    As long as then people can speak too, and the idea that this ruling is in the way of that is ludicrous in the youtube age, then what’s the problem?

    well, for those who do not want business to thrive in the USA… those who want more government power over wealth and choices… those who want a dimmer USA because they think it’s killing gaia… those people do not want the corporations to be able to tell America which leaders will help get the economy back on track from the Bush and Obama mistakes.

    That’s simplifying it, yes, but this is a basic right anyway. It is good because it is.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  117. SPQR,
    In DCSCA’s world, allowing corporations freedom of speech is just like the Soviet Union.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (9eb641)

  118. Because corporations are just like genocidal communists.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (9eb641)

  119. #110- The reference was to Patterico’s relentless assult on the LAT, as regular readers know. Stop being a chump… chump.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  120. “IMDW – I agree that tight control of charters probably implied the power to prevent corporate political speech (although it’s not clear, because it’s problematic for the state to impose otherwise unconstitutional conditions as the price for the granting of special favors). ”

    I think it also meant that they didn’t consider corporate speech a thing that fell under the first amendment, or something could, because they already dealt with it. But of course all the standard problems with originalism apply here.

    “It seems to me that the change to general incorporation means that the fundamental nature of corporations is different than it was in 1789 … and that general incorporation makes restrictions on corporate speech much more problematic – because incorporation is no longer a special favor granted to a few in exchange for something, it is effectively an entitlement available to anyone who fulfills a formality.”

    Yeah that also argues that the founders didn’t envision granting speech rights to general corporations — they didn’t have them.

    “So you makw arguments which you yourself don’t believe in the hopes that other people will swallow them and go along with you? And you admit that?”

    Yeah what’s the problem? Winning or losing arguments here don’t really matter you know.

    imdw (e66d8d)

  121. I’ll stop being a chump when you stop being a moron, DCSCA.

    You claimed that Patterico could censor the LAT “in a way” by boycotting them. That’s not the same thing as what Patterico was arguing, and you’d have to have an IQ below plant life to not understand the difference.

    You are being deliberately dishonest here.

    Some chump (36dbd5)

  122. Kevin – non-citizens who are present in the United States still have freedom of speech. So why wouldn’t foreign corporations with a physical presence in the United States have that same freedom?

    Comment by aphrael — 1/22/2010 @ 11:55 am
    ===
    congress shall make no law restricting speech. that’s different from saying persons or citizens have rights against self incrimination or whathaveyou. It’s a limitation on the government, explicit, against restricting (political) expression. I think Aphrael is right that it applies to non-citizens.

    Comment by Dustin — 1/22/2010 @ 11:57 am

    Consider the source itself:

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    Self-evidently, this applies only to those persons (individual or corporate) over whom Congress has jurisdiction. But I would assert that while Congress has jurisdiction over the activities and personnel of foreign corporations within the United States, the corporation itself exists outside Congress’ jurisdiction*. And so, like any foreign national resident in that foreign nation, the foreign corporation is not a covered person — and has no right to political speech unless and until it chooses to place itself within Congressional jurisdiction by changing its locus of incorporation.

    *[Just for an inverse example, there’s a story in today’s NYTimes about Oracle’s acquisition of Sun. The first graf reads, “The European Commission said Thursday that it had approved Oracle’s $7.4 billion takeover of Sun Microsystems after concluding that it would not significantly affect competition in the European Union.” But Oracle and Sun are both US corporations, governed by US law (including SEC regulation). Once the SEC signed off on the merger, the only thing standing in its way was the business decision of the merging parties to wait for further approval so as not to be adversely subject to foreign jurisdiction over their activities and personnel. The actual merger could occur tomorrow, and is not something within the ambit of the EU (or Russia or China, also mentioned in the story) to prohibit.]

    (I have this nagging feeling I’ve overlooked something — but no doubt someone will provide the necessary gentle correction…)

    porkopolitan (d0f530)

  123. There can be no effective control of corporations while their political activity remains. To put an end to it will be neither a short nor an easy task, but it can be done.
    – Theodore Roosevelt, The New Nationalism 1910

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  124. I think it also meant that they didn’t consider corporate speech a thing that fell under the first amendment, or something could, because they already dealt with it.

    This seems pretty unlikely; as Justice Scalia’s concurrence goes on at length, there are many examples of corporate pamphleteering during the late eighteenth century, and it’s hard to imagine that those were not covered by either the speech or press clauses.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  125. Iamadickwad would grant Constitutional protections to international terrprists, but would deny freedom of speech to American corporations. What team are you on?

    IMP – Take your meds.

    JD (167add)

  126. I think it also meant that they didn’t consider corporate speech a thing that fell under the first amendment, or something could, because they already dealt with it.

    This seems pretty unlikely; as Justice Scalia’s concurrence goes on at length, there are many examples of corporate pamphleteering during the late eighteenth century, and it’s hard to imagine that those were not covered by either the speech or press clauses.

    Also, it ignore key facts regarding this case.

    the makes of the film received far less than half their funding from corporate sources, but were still forbidden from showing the movie on On-Demand – or advertising it at all – anywhere there was a primary election taking place.

    And if “Corporate speech” is not protected, then much (most of, in fact) of the press is not protected, as they are nearly all “corporations”.

    So the NYT couldn’t run pieces critical of a president, nor could the LAT praise a candidate.

    Scott Jacobs (d027b8)

  127. #118- “You are an old man who thinks in terms of nations and peoples. There are no nations. There are no peoples. There are no Russians…

    There are no Arabs. There are no third worlds. There is no West. There is only one holistic system of systems, one vast and immane, interwoven, interacting, multivariate, multi-national dominion of dollars. Petro-dollars, electro-dollars, multi-dollars, Reichmarks, Yen, Rubles, Pounds, and Shekels. It is the international system of currency which determines the totality of life on this planet. That is the natural order of things today. That is the atomic and subatomic and galactic structure of things today!….

    Am I getting through to you, Mr. [Fikes]?

    You get up on your little twenty-one inch screen and howl about America and democracy. There is no America. There is no democracy. There is only IBM and ITT and AT&T and DuPont, Dow, Union Carbide, and Exxon. Those are the nations of the world today. What do you think the Russians [or Chinese] talk about in their councils of state — Karl Marx [or Mao?]?

    They get out their linear programming charts, statistical decision theories, minimax solutions, and compute the price-cost probabilities of their transactions and investments, just like we do. We no longer live in a world of nations and ideologies, Mr. [Fikes]. The world is a college of corporations, inexorably determined by the immutable bylaws of business. The world… is a business, Mr. [Fikes]. It has been since man crawled out of the slime. And our children will live, Mr. [Fikes], to see that ‘perfect’ world in which there’s no war or famine, oppression or brutality — one vast and ecumenical holding company, for whom all men will work to serve a common profit, in which all men will hold a share of stock, all necessities provided, all anxieties, tranquilized… all boredom, amused.” – Arthur Jensen [Ned Beatty], – “Network”, 1976, by Paddy Chayefsky.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  128. Am I getting through to you, Mr. [Fikes]?

    Wrong target. Try reading next time.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (9eb641)

  129. DCSCA must have decided this was the wrong week to quit sniffing glue.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (9eb641)

  130. You really are an idiot.

    JD (167add)

  131. From one on aphrael’s comments in yesterday’s thread relating to this topic on the left’s fear of corporations:

    “Some of it stems from ignorance. Some of it stems from experience with obnoxious corporate behavior. For-profit corporations are inherently amoral; their officers have a responsibility to their shareholders to put maximizing economic value ahead of other interests, and that can easily lead to valuing money more than you value treating people decently.”

    aphrael – I appreciate your comment but disagree. I maintain the fear stems from ignorance, irrationality and indoctrination. The indoctrination starts in school and college from professors who have disdain or hate for corporations, usually without the experience of having worked for a corporation, of having poisoning the minds of their students.

    There is obnoxious personal behavior as well as obnoxious corporate behavior and for-profit corporations have no monopoly on it. I have experienced obnoxious behavior from not-for-profit corporations. I think your use of the classic phrase “maximize economic value ahead of other interests” hives away the game there. How does a corporation do that? Do they do it by continually screwing over customers,suppliers and employees? I think a lot of the floks on the left believe that is the formula to success based on ignorance and irrationality and indoctrination. Again, that’s not a formula for success in the real world.

    You do make a distinction that a corporation is a collection of individuals, which is correct. A corporation may be viewed as acting immorally, but to do so takes the actions of a number of individuals acting immorally themselves. To indict the corporation as evil means indicting at least some of its employees. Not all the employees of corporations, judging by their large political contributions, are Republican. Liberal leaning institutions love contributions from corporations. They just are afraid of political speech from them. That represents competition to the established liberal sources and distribution channels. The fear is palpable, as ewchoed by JEA and imdw in this thread.

    The real issue here

    daleyrocks (718861)

  132. That was obviously directed at the mendoucheous IMP, not the esteemed Brother Bradley. Good Allah, IMP. Quit beclowning yourself.

    JD (167add)

  133. What IBM, ITT, AT&T, DuPont, Dow, Union Carbide, and Exxon have in common is that they produce useful items that improve our standard of living.

    DCSCA, by contrast, produces nonsense quotes and faux memories of advising Von Braun and sniffing Limbaugh’s armpits.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (9eb641)

  134. #116- And of course, this is a good thing. we want employers to be healthy and well represented. We want our banks and businesses to thrive. They are on our side. Well, the stockholders side, first. But ‘Arthur Jensen’ would agree.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  135. I figured you knew that, I just wanted IMP to be clear on that.

    Why do they fear the evil big business when government is one of, if not the largest employers on the planet?

    JD (167add)

  136. “the makes of the film received far less than half their funding from corporate sources, but were still forbidden from showing the movie on On-Demand – or advertising it at all – anywhere there was a primary election taking place.”

    Could they put it on youtube?

    imdw (c5488f)

  137. You hit the nail on the head, Bradley. But I’m still finding it hilarious that the International Man of Parody keeps making claims about the ruling that make it more than obvious that he does not understand it and has not read any of the explication of it here.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  138. Could they put it on youtube?

    Yes, if they wanted to fail as film makers.

    The idea when you make and distribute something is, usually, to make money. Be it a movie, a car, t-shirts of newspapers, if you can’t at least make back the money you spent in making and marketing something, you won’t be around long to make anything else.

    Scott Jacobs (d027b8)

  139. as Justice Scalia’s concurrence goes on at length, there are many examples of corporate pamphleteering during the late eighteenth century, and it’s hard to imagine that those were not covered by either the speech or press clauses.

    Comment by aphrael

    What a week. First a Republican wins Ted Kennedy’s seat, now aphrael is converting to the cause of original intent.

    Just joshing, aphrael. Though I’m amused by the way you follow original intent at some times and reject it at others.

    Subotai (683ac2)

  140. Subotai: the particular comment you’re responding to was a response to someone who was arguing, in essence, “original intent means this decision is wrong”. It seems to me that the most productive way to respond to that argument is “that’s not the right understanding of original intent.” :)

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  141. imdw

    > Because just because I’m skeptical doesn’t mean that people here — or on the court — might not like them.

    Hey, why don’t we do this? Why don’t we make our own arguments, instead of someone else’s?

    And skeptical? Um, no, you just don’t want to be limited to the actual words of the constitution. You really want judicial rule. But then you whine and bitch when the judges don’t rule in your favor, which given that you want to in practicality accede all power to them, well its seems a little hypocritical.

    > So the founders may well have been ok with “banning” a movie. But that doesn’t make it constitutional.

    Except they weren’t. Instead a majority of congress was, but the founders, the people, ran them out of office. They rendered their verdict, and thank God for that.

    > Because corporate charters were tightly controlled.

    Not that tightly. Seriously, you think chartered corporations made no use of speech or the press? Are you an idiot? Do you know what corporations actually do?

    DC

    > Might have carried more weight with the opposition if the ruling had not split on partisan lines, but there’s those activist judges for you.

    It’s the fault of those who followed the constitution that 4 of them didn’t? indeed, 3 of them were nominated by presidents who specifically rejected the notion of following the constitution.

    Which is not to say that they were all constitutionalists in the majority. Kennedy does whatever the f— he feels like. If it follows the constitution, that is entirely coincidental.

    > And Teddy Roosevelt most likely would have issues with it.

    Right, and remember when you read that TR wrote the first amendment? Yeah, me neither.

    Seriously, why do you have such a hard on for what TR said? He was a better than average president, but he ain’t God.

    > What should alarm advocates on both sides is how the resources accessible on the scale multi-national corporations can establish the framework for any debate to begin with.

    Typical liberal, believing that the people are just sheep. Do you really think that a pitch for a bailout coming from Goldman Sachs would have gotten anywhere?

    And the soviet stuff is silly beyond belief, and ironic, given that you disdain democracy as thoroughly as any communist.

    A.W. (f97997)

  142. I love how people like IMP quiver in fear at the idea of evil corporations, yet seem remarkably uninterested in the fact that their fellow traveler at NBC, SeeBS, ABC, CNN, MSNBC, et al are run by huge corporations.

    JD (dc4402)

  143. NBC, SeeBS, ABC, CNN, MSNBC

    I don’t think you know that many leftists. In left-liberal circles, these guys are all corrupt corporate stooges.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  144. #144- Yep. ‘Network’ was quite prescient.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  145. Wrong, aphrael. I come from a family of leftists, and a majority of my close friends are decidedly left. Just because some leftists think that the vanguards of the MSM are not left enough, does not mean that they are not also decidedly leftist.

    And, you should be worried, aphrael, when the International Man of Parody is agreeing with you.

    JD (dc4402)

  146. I can certainly understand why some on the left thing FNC is unfairly biased to the right.

    But I know liberals to say that MSNBC is biased to the right. I get the feeling they say that specifically because they know the media is repeatedly shown to be biased to the left, and they think if both sides make the same complaint that this will help them somehow. Perhaps it will simply give CBS types like Mary Mapes cover. I know a few journalists point to the fact that both sides make the bias accusation as some kind of evidence they are correct.

    Some sophists are sophisticated to play into this system by lying. If these liberals think MSNBC or CBS or ABC are biased to the right, they have some problems in their thinking.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  147. JD: fair enough. I should know better than to make assertions like “you clearly don’t know leftists”.

    That said, I’m speaking of the perception among leftists. Your claim was that the left doesn’t care that various media outlets are run by corporations; my claim was that the left that I’m familiar with doesn’t trust any of the media outlets you mentioned, largely because they are run by corporations.

    Dustin: a lot depends on where you think the center is. If you believe that Pres. Obama is right of center, for example, then it isn’t that hard to believe that CBS is.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  148. If you believe President Barcky is right of center, then I have a unicorn and some fairy dust to sell you 😉

    JD (dc4402)

  149. I think he’s slightly left of center. But then again, I don’t think he’s nearly as left-wing as ya’ll do.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  150. Good lordy the distortions and jumping through hoops. This comes down to one question:

    Is a corporation a person/citizen with all the rights (but none of the responsibilities) of an actual individual? YES OR NO??

    If that corporation is owned by a foreign government, China, or Iran, or Saudi Arabia, Or Russia, what about then? What are the implications then? If Obama needs to prove his citizenship so badly and it’s such an issue with the Right, why is foreign ownership of corporations, who’ve now been given the same exact free speech rights as individuals not a problem??

    Answer that. No. Course not. Stay on your high and mighty campaign for “free speech” even though that was never at issue. What was under attack was the undue influence of vested corporate interests.

    What about the employee’s of a corporation who puts all its financial muscle behind an issue or a candidate that employee does not believe in? How about that? Any answers?

    Everything else: Stick it where the sun don’t shine, Pat. This is a sick and absurd extreme that the Roberts court has achieved here in overturning a century worth of precedence. Really enough, just enough, this is just repulsive beyond belief and of course you would defend it. This is after the man who would defend the government deciding it has the right to step into a family decision and keep a brain dead woman alive for it’s own hypocrisy, yet screams bloody murder when the rights and voice of individuals is replaced and squelched by corporations. This is oligarchic corporatism through and through.

    It is sick and disgusting.

    Assclown doodyheads (f0d390)

  151. “NBC, SeeBS, ABC, CNN, MSNBC

    I don’t think you know that many leftists. In left-liberal circles, these guys are all corrupt corporate stooges.”

    aphrael – But they engage in supporting political campaigns and most of the time the left does not mind. Another double standard?

    daleyrocks (718861)

  152. I believe Kevin Murphy answered these odd questions about foreign corporations by noting that foreign corporations should have no greater rights than foreign citizens.

    “This is after the man who would defend the government deciding it has the right to step into a family decision and keep a brain dead woman alive for it’s own hypocrisy . . .”

    Thus proving you don’t understand what happened there.

    Assclown.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  153. Assclown remains true to his name. I find the irony juicy in its hypotheticals how easily they apply to the beloved unions that the Dems rely on. But that is alright. Why do you hate the Constitution, assclown? Congress shall make no law …

    Aphrael – He is prolly not as left as I believe him to be, but he is nowhere near the center.

    JD (ffc25d)

  154. Aphrael – He is prolly not as left as I believe him to be, but he is nowhere near the center.

    Comment by JD — 1/22/2010

    Egads man! A president that nationalises private banks, auto industries, trying to nationalize heath insurance, and other private enterprises. One that is trying to shut down all dissent.

    Do the following suggest anything to you at all?

    Fascist Italy, Nazi Germany, Stalinist Russia.

    I mean for real, you can’t go any further to the left without getting one major case of whiplash!!!!!!!!!

    peedoffamerican (7f3c14)

  155. Assclown – How much did the SEIU spend in getting Obama elected?

    How much did Soros spend in trying to defeat Bush in 2004?

    Blow your undue influence posturing out your butt!!!11ty!!!!

    daleyrocks (718861)

  156. Oh, I also left out that he wants to establish his own SS by creating a new national police force that is “better armed” than our own military.

    peedoffamerican (7f3c14)

  157. Also don’t forget that he is trying to destroy Israel by placing unreal demands on them to exist as a nation. MY GOD, it seems just like it is January 30, 1933 and the infamous “Beer Hall Putsch” once again.

    “The problem with America is stupidity. I’m not saying there should be capital punishment for stupidity, but why don’t we just take the warning labels off of everything and let the problem solve itself?”

    peedoffamerican (7f3c14)

  158. If you believe that Pres. Obama is right of center, for example, then it isn’t that hard to believe that CBS is.

    Comment by aphrael

    Indeed! but wtfomgbbq

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  159. Yeah Dustin, exactly. I mean I could beleive that the sky is green, clouds are marshmallows, and it rains beer, but it just doesn’t make it so.

    peedoffamerican (7f3c14)

  160. Oooops, “believe”.

    peedoffamerican (7f3c14)

  161. I think it would be nice if high schools and colleges still taught civics and economics.

    Ag80 (1592cc)

  162. What about the employee’s of a corporation who puts all its financial muscle behind an issue or a candidate that employee does not believe in? How about that? Any answers?

    That one’s easy: the employee gets paid for his labor. He doesn’t have to agree with the issues that the corporation supports, and the corporation doesn’t have to agree with the employee’s politics. If the employee doesn’t like his employer’s politics, he can go work somewhere else.

    Some chump (d97978)

  163. NY Times has a great op-ed on this.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/22/opinion/22fri1.html?em

    eirvegrs (c1d4d5)

  164. Some chump – do you think that troll would be willing to apply the same standards to unions?

    I am not sure that “great” is the word I would use to describe that editorial.

    JD (be2df8)

  165. #163– Easy?? Case in point- several years ago a relative who held a senior position at an international firm was approached by the president of the corporation in his office. The door was closed and a brief discussion ensued. The executive was told verbally by the president that the board of directors had decided to support the candidacy of congressman X running in the home office district and it was ‘suggested’ that the execs at his level in his division be encouraged to contribute to that support–‘for the good of the company,’ as it was said. The message was clear- write a check. Just one thing- as an individual, the relative did not personally support the position the candidate was espousing. And privately, the pressure from above angered him as at that level, to balk at the request jeopardized his career advancement options. The relative had worked decades to earn the middle class trappings of the ‘golden handcuffs’ -seniority in the company, a house, family to support, mortgage, tuitions, car payments, etc. So while up and ‘quitting’ may appear to be an option ‘academically’ speaking, it is not a particularly pragmatic solution. So on the surface of it in the ‘real world,’ it’s not ‘easy’ at all, Chump.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  166. The Court was right. There should be a compelling reason to muzzle free speech (yelling “fire!” in a movie theater, etc.), and this isn’t even close.

    Beyond that, all the furor is overblown. This ruling won’t have much effect. In fact, it might help local media via increased advertising.

    Both sides have plenty of money. For instance, if Hollywood corporations want to get into political movies and documentaries aimed at certain candidates, I feel pretty good they’ll choose the right targets. “Nothing wrong with a little shootin’, as long as the right guys are getting shot.” (I’m being metaphorical, just to be crystal.)

    And let’s face it, it’s not like Congress is not already bought and paid for. Which is why this so-called “tough stance” against the banks is a bad joke.

    Myron (a90986)

  167. Beyond that, all the furor is overblown. This ruling won’t have much effect. In fact, it might help local media via increased advertising.

    Quite perceptive.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (9eb641)

  168. Calling BS here, DC. It’s not like you haven’t made stuff up before.

    If a company really tried such a thing, a couple of calls to newspapers and tv news shows would give it more bad press than it could handle. Companies, especially big ones, tend to avoid bad press like that.

    Some chump (d97978)

  169. There DCSCA goes again with one of his unverifiable tall tales at #166.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (9eb641)

  170. DCSCA @166 – Your relative should have thought through why the BOD decided to support the candidate he opposed, since it was obviously a business decision, rather than a selfish personal choice and he could have contributed to the candidate of his choice anyway if he so decided. I’ve been on the wrong side of those conversations and they’re not fun, but they can be successfully handled. Your relative is no martyr and probably a dumbass if he caved in without thinking through.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  171. DCSCA,

    It’s not just political candidates. Businesses have also been known to pressure employees to support a specific state university MBA or law school, local school bond elections, or community theaters, symphonies, and ballet. Part of working for a company is learning when to draw a line in the sand and when to give in.

    DRJ (84a0c3)

  172. Good call, some chump. IMP is a serial fabulist, and it is incredible that he can come up with an anecdote like that. Plus, nothing about this ruling would have stopped his alleged anecdote from happening. Bad behavior will happen regardless, and the contributions it speaks of have nothing to do with this ruling. In short, IMP lies, routinely, repeatedly, and often.

    JD (be2df8)

  173. #169- Apparently you don’t read too well. The relative was not in a professional or financial position to do that and jeopardize his career, income and position at the firm. But his eventual solution to it was practical. And real world. You may find yourself in a similar situation one day, Chump.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  174. it might help local media via increased advertising.

    That just about sums up the one group that will come out the winners thanks to the Supreme Court’s ruling.

    As for the public (or at least me), having to hear even more incessant ads on radio and TV either extolling or damning some politician or proposition, or policy, right up to the eve of an election is the only reason I regret the defeat of McCain/Feingold.

    BTW, I was speaking with some guy tonight — a big limousine liberal — who was ticked off about the campaign finance ruling and complaining to a fellow liberal how lousy and unbelievable the Supreme Court was. He also then said that Clarence Thomas was one of jurists who agreed with the majority. That comment was followed by his scoffing about Thomas being a guy who harrassed or disrespected women. I got very irritated and shot back about Bill Clinton and all the skeletons in his closet (including Kathleen Willey, Juanita Broaddrick). The limousine liberal, of course, rationalized away Bill’s pecaddillos.

    Mr. LL also sneered about Thomas being an “uncle,” which really ticked me off. I found myself replying: oh, so all blacks have to be liberals?!”

    Silence in the room.

    The mind of a liberal is a scary, pathetic thing.

    Mark (411533)

  175. “… it is incredible that he can come up with an anecdote like that…”

    Probably cribs them from old issues of Readers’ Digest.

    AD - RtR/OS! (f0e19b)

  176. “#169- Apparently you don’t read too well.”

    “who held a senior position at an international firm was approached by the president of the corporation in his office.”

    “The relative was not in a professional or financial position”

    DCSCA – You don’t write too well. Your relative was senior enough to merit a visit from the president of a large international corporation to solicit a contribution, but you don’t consider him professional.

    Can we play 20 questions?

    daleyrocks (718861)

  177. DCSCA, you have no veracity. So it doesn’t matter how many conveniently unverifiable anecdotes you pull out of your dishonest brain.

    If someone like Patterico told a story like yours, I’d believe it because Patterico has a verifiable track record of accuracy, and scrupulous attention to correcting errors. Same with aphrael. You, by contrast, have been repeatedly caught by the regulars here in numerous falsehoods, small and large.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (9eb641)

  178. #172- Yeah, DRJ. People can talk about it in the abstract all the time but when it actually happens to someone you know and you see the professional and personal angst it can bring into a family it becomes very real. It only happened that one time. But the family still talks about it years later.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  179. But the family still talks about it years later.

    The family that exists only in DCSCA’s head.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (9eb641)

  180. The executive was told verbally by the president that the board of directors had decided to support the candidacy of congressman X

    And, uh, how about the various union bosses and flunkies who force the members of a union to contribute to some political cause or politician, by taking monies straight out of funds from membership dues?

    Incidentally, no group has as much of a vested interest in influencing the outcome of any number of elections than government-employee unions. No surprise, too, because with bloated government pension funds on the line, corporations are pikers compared with the unions that give big hugs, kisses and dollars to government workers.

    Mark (411533)

  181. It must be nice for DCSCA to have an imaginary successful relative to look up to.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  182. Why Gunga Dan would have known what to do immediately in that situation, he would have lied his ass off as usual.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  183. DCSCA:

    They still talk about it years later? Your extended family must have very blessed lives if this is the worst thing that has happened to them.

    DRJ (84a0c3)

  184. #184- We are. Hardly the worst but amusingly memorable if only for it occurring in the first place, and at the time, surprising, knowing the particulars of the individials involved.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  185. LOL, DRJ is soooo subtle. 😉

    My wife once was actually forced to leave a firm she worked for due to her resistance to a partner’s pressure to donate to United Way.

    But you don’t see me using that as justification for violation of constitutional rights …

    SPQR (26be8b)

  186. Another story in a long lines of fables from the serial fabulist. Maybe when he was at CNN or CBS he heard someone tell a story like that. Maybe he heard it in London, or Russia. Maybe it was a co-worker at NSA, or NASA. Maybe the aliens with the coneheads implanted a chip bearing false memories in his brain.

    JD (f07f00)

  187. We have a family story about being urged to buy an employer’s daughter’s Girl Scout cookies. That’s the year we ended up with 2 dozen boxes, but we think it’s really funny.

    DRJ (84a0c3)

  188. #188- ROFLMAO was she a candidate for Congress as well?! We’ll pass that along to the niece who is approaching GS age for a laugh. Have a safe and dry weekend.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  189. Running for congress as well?

    IMP – You ought to write a book.

    JD (4a0e60)

  190. you can freeze GS cookies you know

    happyfeet (e9e587)

  191. If a company really tried such a thing, a couple of calls to newspapers and tv news shows would give it more bad press than it could handle. Companies, especially big ones, tend to avoid bad press like that.

    Yeah, but the person would likely still be out of a job.

    Not saying DC’s story is true, but it is a scenario that is plausible, and I suspect has happened on a number of occasions.

    Scott Jacobs (d027b8)

  192. DCSCA, by contrast, produces nonsense quotes and faux memories of advising Von Braun and sniffing Limbaugh’s armpits.

    Don’t forget about his awesome adventures as a Navy SEAL, and his stint in Latin America working as part of an assassination hit squad, or his playing kickball in the snow with US Embassy staffers in Moscow, or his selling newspapers in London as a wee lad during the Thatcher years, or working at Enron in energy futures…

    Each time I’ve asked him to explain the vast discrepancies between the dates where he was allegedly working in two places on different continents at the same time he’s been silent. Oh yeah, I forgot to add that he also works in the publishing field – perhaps the local Shopper Weekly.

    He should write a book? Hell, with the material he’s got, he could write an entire series of books. Maybe title it “Adventures in Fabulist Land.”

    Dmac (539341)

  193. Did he really claim to be a SEAL?

    by all means embellish stories about enron and CBS, but don’t steal valor. No one believes that stuff and it doesn’t persuade.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  194. DCSCA also claimed to have “meetings” (plural) with von Braun.

    #176- Of course you were. Did I mention my meetings with Von Braun? Somehow, your name never came up.

    Comment by DCSCA — 12/30/2008 @ 11:50 pm

    And further down the thread:

    #277- What’s to add? They edited it down once before. I was at Allegheny and Von Braun stayed literally across the hall for 3 or 4 days. Long story as to why but I traded him a foam pillow for a feather pillow (hence the first hand allergy knowledge) and a signature in one of his books.

    But if you have an interest in the space program of that era I will tell you he treated about 15 of us to a 90 minute talk in a hall foyer perched on an old wooden chair in shirt sleeves and loosened tie about spaceflight, rocketry and spirituality.

    It was an amazing experience. He was trying to light young minds and he was dead a few years later. Talked about and answered every question– from meeting Hitler to nuclear rocket engines, the paint patterns on his rockets and why he held such a deep faith in God.

    It remains one of the high points of my life.

    Comment by DCSCA — 1/2/2009 @ 1:14 am

    He also claimed to have met (and smelled) Rush Limbaugh

    #244– I have met Rush Limbaugh. I even interviewed for a position with his ‘EIB’ group when it was in Manhattan atop the imaginary ‘EIB Building’(aka Penn Station.)

    The very first point made by his staff– and himself– is that he is an entertainer, and uses topics of the day as fuel for his schtick. Lending any deeper credence to Limbaugh is a fool’s errand and those who do have had him laughing all the way to the bank and to his pushers. Like any good carnival barker, his job is to draw an audience, and that he does– clowns et al.

    Also, for those who care, Rush stinks. Literally.first impressions last and his lingered most assuredly. He smelled. Very, very bad BO. (I allowed it was due to being parked in a studio chair for 3 hours on radio and it was in August but a little Right Guard goes a long way.) Quite the stinko back then. Nice guy off mike, out of ‘character,’ but, man. No doubt some roll on might have saved at one of his several marriages.

    Comment by DCSCA — 1/1/2009 @ 4:59 pm

    Also to have had lived in Escondido when Cunningham was in Congress . . .:

    #151- You have a low threshold for ‘heroes’. Randy ‘Duke’ Cunningham was my congressman for a time out of Escondido. Corrupt. Egocentric. Republican. In short, a thief.

    He didnt respect the Navy or his own service and betrayed the public trust. He shamed himself, his party, his country and the Navy. The crook belongs in prison.

    Comment by DCSCA — 12/31/2008 @ 12:33 am

    And lived in Margaret Thatcher’s home district . . .:

    Regarding Mrs. Thatcher. She was our MP from Finchley when I resided in Britain. I was not a supporter of Mrs. Thatcher then, or now.

    Comment by DCSCA — 6/15/2009 @ 10:12 pm

    There’s much more to our Zelig . . .

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (9eb641)

  195. Let me start with a big thought. Why do we trust the government to enforce any speech rights at all. Built into the law is an arbitrary discrimination—exempting so-called media companies, but not any other company. So thus NBC can be owned by GE and potentially promote the corporate interests of its parents, and that is okay. But a competing company, such as say, LG, cannot. And we have seen Fahrenheit 9/11 be released and promoted without anyone going to jail, but not the same thing for Hillary: The Movie. Both movies were arguably covered by the statute, but they were not treated equally. Meanwhile, it is illegal to intimidate voters. Unless, apparently if you are the Black Panther Party, yelling racist shit and carrying a club in support of Barrack Obama. Why should we trust Holder, or for that matter any other AG to apply the laws equally without regard to politics?

    clown

    > Is a corporation a person/citizen with all the rights (but none of the responsibilities) of an actual individual? YES OR NO??

    No, that is not the question under the first amendment. The question is whether it is a limitation on the right to speech. Only tells congress not to limit speech; it doesn’t limit that command to certain situations, such as when a person or even a citizen is involved. It simply says “congress shall make no law.”

    > If that corporation is owned by a foreign government, China, or Iran, or Saudi Arabia, Or Russia, what about then?

    If a corporation is not entitled to freedom of speech, then literally thousands of court decisions are wrong, not the least including New York Times v. Sullivan, where it was found that the New York Times enjoyed special protection against libel laws when the alleged target is a public figure, or Hustler Magazine, Inc. v. Fallwell, which protected Hustler’s right to parody a major American religious/political figure. Is it your position that those cases were wrongly decided?

    As for the foreign influence issue, the fact was that this law did nothing to address that concern. Foreign citizens could spend all the money they wanted. And foreign corporations could, too, all they had to do was open up a news “channel” or buy into one. Indeed, not long ago the New York Times was bailed out by a major Mexican billionaire; so they literally owe this man millions of dollars. Do you see a danger in foreign influence in that?

    > If Obama needs to prove his citizenship so badly

    Yes, that is correct. Every single republican, or supporter of this decision, is a birther. Including apparently by your logic, the ACLU which argued on Citizens United’s behalf.

    > What about the employee’s of a corporation who puts all its financial muscle behind an issue or a candidate that employee does not believe in? How about that? Any answers?

    What about it?

    > in overturning a century worth of precedence.

    That is a meme that is not actually correct.

    > This is after the man who would defend the government deciding it has the right to step into a family decision and keep a brain dead woman alive for it’s own hypocrisy,

    It wasn’t a family decision. It was the husband’s decision. The family, her blood, not only disagreed, but alleged that her husband had put her in that position. You would think that the left which claims to care about violence against women, would be leery about allowing a husband to kill his wife with impunity.

    Eir

    > NY Times has a great op-ed on this.

    Given that this is a message from the New York Times Company, itself a corporation, it is fatally flawed. It amounts to one type of corporation arguing for the suppression of all others without bothering to even explain why they should be treated differently.

    DC

    > The message was clear- write a check.

    Well, that is still illegal in American politics.

    But I think your story supports Clarence Thomas’ notion that the disclosure rules violate the first amendment, too.

    And to people claiming that DC made that up, let me point out that I have personally investigated as a corporate lawyer incidents similar to what he described, and it does definitely go on, although usually the BOD knows better than to do it themselves; its usually overzealous middle management.

    Which doesn’t mean that he didn’t make this story up, but if he did, then what he made up is something that does happen.

    A.W. (f97997)

  196. #196-. Ahhh memories. Slow Saturday for you. “Am I getting through to you Mr. [Fikes]?”

    #194- Nah.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  197. Well, DCSCA, this is all your fault. You went through this “World of Commander McBragg” period where you made a fair number of inconsistent claims, all seeming to revolve around how important you are.

    Remember your fleet of vintage Jeeps, for example? Or the Libyan death squad? Or selling newspapers announcing the break up of the Beatles for (and I quote) “…quite a few quid”? Don’t even get me started on the Allegheny College/Von Braun story, which I am pretty sure you cribbed from Wikipedia.

    The problem is that you wrote your birth date down on your YouTube page, so most of your claims are, well, spurious.

    In recent months, you have been much less combative and insulting. That is to your credit (though you are clearly ramping up again). The other thing you did correctly is quit making up nonsense about yourself.

    People like Bradley and Dmac kept records of your nonsense, just in case you started up the BragWagon again.

    Tone it down, please. No one likes to see you get slapped around with your own prior comments. At least I don’t, honestly. I think you post a lot of loopy stuff, but as long as you aren’t super strange and insulting, who cares?

    You are resuming the former, and edging toward the latter. Why not have a nice Saturday, instead?

    Eric Blair (20b3a8)

  198. Eric Blair,
    I missed DCSCA’s birthdate. What year did he say it is?

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (9eb641)

  199. I like it when DCSCA writes about space. He has genuine enthusiasm for the subject, and turns off the “weird” and “snark” dials.

    Eric Blair (20b3a8)

  200. And yes, the Alleghany story DCSCA bragged about witnessing (including the allergy to feather pillows) was entered in Wikipedia, among other sources.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (9eb641)

  201. International Man of Parody … and serial fabulist.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  202. One of my commenters, who is very upset by the Citizens United decision and believes that the Constitution must be interpreted in accordance with today’s real world conditions, finally said:

    The point is, we must amend the First Amendment, and hope it can be carried out before our country is too far down the road of the declination already in motion, now made much worse, by transferring more wealth and power to the oligarchical class, whose behaviors in the last several decades is very well documented and demonstrated!

    I’ve asked him just how he would amend the First, just what he would put in its place, but at least he had the guts to suggest an actual amendment to the Constitution to get to where he thinks we should be.

    I wonder what language the commenters from the left here would use to replace the First.

    The blogger Dana (474dfc)

  203. No one likes to see you get slapped around with your own prior comments.

    I beg to differ, Eric. Nothing’s more fun than giving such a massive tool atomic wedgies time after time – it never gets old for yours truly.

    Bradley, thanks for bringing up the other ridiculous claims of prior meetings with world figures. I had forgotten all about the bizarre Duke Cunningham reference, and that Limbaugh story is still the funniest one…yet.

    Since you’re in the professional field, what do you make of his claims of being in the pub business? He’s never actually told us what he does, which of course leads you to conclude that he knows we’ll all check his post and mock him immediately on his fraudulence – and flatulence.

    Dmac (539341)

  204. Proposed progressive amendment to free speech.

    Amendment 1a. Due to the progressive view being the only correct view that can exist, be it resolved that only progressives can freely express their views.

    Amendment 1b. Any conservative or libertarian that expresses a non-progressive view, will be immediately sent to a re-education facility without trial where he/she will remain until such time as they conform to the proletariat or progressive view. Furthermore, if they are not reformed within a 30 day time span, execution by post natal abortion will be carried out on any such individual without appeal.

    Amendment 1c. This amendment hereby establishes re-education centers for the above non-conformists.

    Amendment 1d. Whereas businesses have been given the right to free speech by a wingnut Supreme Court, they are now nationalised by the proletariat and may only express the proletariat party line. Company officers that violate this will be sent to re-education centers.

    Amendment 1e. Whereas the term, politically correct, is offensive, only correct language is approved. Correct language will be approved by the Central Semantic Bureau that will be staffed by the People’s Progressive Proletariat Party.

    Amendment 1f. This amendment can never be interpreted or repealed.

    I think that this is just what the so-called party of the people would prefer.

    peedoffamerican (7f3c14)

  205. Since you’re in the professional field, what do you make of his claims of being in the pub business?

    Unverifiable, just like his Zelig anecdotes.

    Bradley J. Fikes, C. O.R. (a18ddc)

  206. peedoffamerican, is it just a coincidence that your proposed amendments and numbered identically to the California ballot propositions of last May? :)

    The Dana who notices these things (474dfc)

  207. Eric @201 – Thanks for the heads up. That young whippersnapper DCSCA should learn some manners.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  208. I’m always amused by trolls who profess to have great age and experience, daley. I suspect that they…um…might be padding their resumes a bit.

    Eric Blair (20b3a8)

  209. Eric – Suggestion for imdw – Its my digital world. Just sayin’.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  210. Dana , total coincidence. Just pulled them from what I have seen and heard from our libturd non-friends.

    peedoffamerican (7f3c14)

  211. As an aside: Glenn Greenwald has been pretty heavily criticized on this site, but it’s worth noting that he agrees with Patterico on this decision.

    aphrael (73ebe9)

  212. Victor Davis Hanson raps Obama on the knuckles for his hypocracy in reacting to this decision.

    SPQR (26be8b)


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