Patterico's Pontifications

5/19/2011

Is Colbert Smart Enough to Know He Just Proved That Citizens United Was Correctly Decided?

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 11:00 am



[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.  Or by Twitter @AaronWorthing.]

Update: Hot Air has very similar thoughts, here.

From the very first reactions to the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizen United a certain irony permeated the debate.  As I wrote back then:

On January 23, the New York Times denounced the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. F.E.C., stating that “the court[] … has paved the way for corporations to use their vast treasuries to overwhelm elections and intimidate elected officials.” In a twist worthy of Monty Python and the Life of Brian, this editorial was unsigned, representing the voice of the New York Times Co., itself a corporation. It amounted to “this corporation says that no corporation has a right to free expression.”

Next I suppose the entire staff will gather together and chant, in unison, “we are all individuals.”

And that irony was repeated months ago when Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert held dueling rallies in Washington D.C. as I noted in a post entitled This Rally is Brought to You By Citizens United:

Anyway, watching it, and seeing that Comedy Central is running it live—indeed, according to my TIVO, there will be no commercial interruptions, and there haven’t been so far—I realized that none of this would have been possible without the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizen’s United.  This is corporate speech.  Comedy Central is a corporation, a subsidiary (most likely through multiple shells) of Viacom, another company, donating it’s on air time to this political rally.

But according to Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, the government should have the power to ban this kind of thing.  Mind you, of course, that is only my reading of Colbert’s satiric remarks; I believe what he is trying to do is say the Supreme Court is wrong to say a corporation deserves any first amendment protection at all, but since his satire is so thick rational minds can disagree.  Stewart’s mockery, meanwhile, is a little more straightforward and it’s easier to discern his point.

Well, he managed to prove my point again on his own show, when talking about whether he could promote his PAC on his show:

Seriously, does he not understand that he has managed to prove that, if anything, Citizens United didn’t go far enough?  Here he is talking about asking for an advisory opinion about whether he should be free to speak without giving up all of Viacom’s corporate secrets.  Here he is talking about having to wait sixty days to find out if he is allowed.  Here he is telling us that he wouldn’t be able to speak if the ruling came out against him.

He is asking the government for permission to speak and if he has any understanding of how appalling that is in a free society, he gives no indication of it.  The man is clever and, in small doses, funny, but he’s not particularly smart.

Hat tip: This WSJ editorial which has much more on the subject.  Really, read the whole thing.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

101 Responses to “Is Colbert Smart Enough to Know He Just Proved That Citizens United Was Correctly Decided?”

  1. No, he isn’t. Got a difficult one?

    Phil Smith (5381ba)

  2. Colbert’s got one joke. That’s it.

    I can see the humor in it, but it’s only still working for some truly partisan types. I usually laugh at making fun of the more blowhardy commentators, like O’Reilly or Hannity, but I could write Colbert’s shows years in advance, and that’s just not interesting.

    I have to agree that Colbert doesn’t seem to realize that he’s describing limitations on political expression that shouldn’t be in place. But he’s a hack. He’ll just move on, even if he figures it out.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  3. I think you miss what the objection to Citizen United is.

    Basically, the objection stems from the notion that the Bill of Rights was intended to benefit corporations just as much, if not more, than living individual people. Corporations are mere creatures of the law that are not and should not be treated the same as “We the People” by whom and for whom the Constitution was written. To suggest that corporations have “natural” rights endowed to them “by their Creator” is ludicrous, since corporations do not appear in nature, and their Creator, rather than being God…. is us.

    They are creatures of law in that they are given perpetual life and limited liability — something that humans do not have — in return for other limitations which may be imposed on them from time to time.

    I don’t mind corporations having free speech, and God knows they have plenty of it, usually in the form of advertisements. But it doesn’t offend the Constitution to limit the amount that corporations (and unions) engage in electioneering.

    Kman (5576bf)

  4. Someone else who doesn’t get it. Corporations are nothing more than an abstraction, a useful way of referring to a large and ever-changing set of people. Each of those people has the natural right to free speech, and they don’t lose it when they act in concert as a corporation.

    Milhouse (888623)

  5. Each of those people has the natural right to free speech, and they don’t lose it when they act in concert as a corporation.

    Yes, that’s the myth, and it’s as much a lie as anything else. For the typical corporation, a small cadre of directors and officers manage the
    corporation’s affairs under a fiduciary duty to maximize profits. The vast majority of the corporation’s so-called members do nothing more than invest their money in the hope of sharing in those profits. Are those members ever consulted on the corporation’s “speech”? Rarely, if ever. So how can you say they acting “in concert”?

    Kman (5576bf)

  6. Kman is wrong, again. In fact, the basis for his error can be found right in the Bill of Rights he uses to mock this decision.

    The right of the people peaceably to assemble. A corporation is a peaceful assembly of people.

    Makewi (0864f9)

  7. A corporation is a peaceful assembly of people.

    But that right was in reference to people assembling for a common purpose. But if I own a mutual fund, I may own a piece of a corporation and not even know it. The only people really “assembled” for a corporation are the directors and officers. But they are using the “voice” of thousands of others who may not even agree with the message.

    Kman (5576bf)

  8. You cannot substitute your own definition of what constitutes a peaceful assembly for that which has been made fact by decision of our highest court Kman. To wit, both the size and the knowledge of the workings of the organization are unimportant to the constitutional protections and to the legal obligations.

    Makewi (0864f9)

  9. You cannot substitute your own definition of what constitutes a peaceful assembly for that which has been made fact by decision of our highest court Kman

    I’m saying the Supreme Court’s “fact” is erroneous and certainly not in line with the intent of the Founding Fathers.

    Kman (5576bf)

  10. Basically, the objection stems from the notion that the Bill of Rights was intended to benefit corporations just as much, if not more, than living individual people. Corporations are mere creatures of the law that are not and should not be treated the same as “We the People” by whom and for whom the Constitution was written. To suggest that corporations have “natural” rights endowed to them “by their Creator” is ludicrous, since corporations do not appear in nature, and their Creator, rather than being God…. is us.

    You miss the point, Kman. First, the notion that corporations have some of the same rights as individuals is a very old one in the law. Second, the purpose of the 1st Amendment was not to confer rights upon individuals, it was to prohibit Congress from ever encroaching on those issues. Go back and read the 1st Amendment carefully, and you’ll see: “Congress shall make no law….” That’s a restraint on government, not an enabling of individuals.

    Finally, the thought that a group of people would give up their rights to speak freely, advocate political views, or publish anything they wished — in their own name or in the name of a corporation — simply because they formed a corporation is ludicrous.

    Chuck Bartowski (4c6c0c)

  11. Kman,can an individual ever have so much money and power that we should limit his free speech? No matter how much? Is it OK for a group of individuals to attempt to intimidate him into silence if the government can’t or won’t?

    quasimodo (4af144)

  12. It’s settled law LIBTARDS. SETTLED LAW.

    Hurts doesn’t it libtards?? Kind of trumps the GOONIONS.

    Hahahahahahahahaahahhahaha

    gus (36e9a7)

  13. McC

    gus (36e9a7)

  14. I’m saying the Supreme Court’s “fact” is erroneous and certainly not in line with the intent of the Founding Fathers.

    ORLY. You can of course back up the claim of this decision being out of line with the intent of the founding fathers? Are you suggesting that we have a right to free speech and a right to assemble but that when we assemble we lose the right to speech.

    Because the idea that the founders would have intended that seems pretty ridiculous to me.

    Makewi (0864f9)

  15. Wass that a fact you learned at the London School of Economics?

    Kmart just wants certain corporations to have control of speech. They really get wound up when people act outside of the leftist constructs.

    JD (d48c3b)

  16. good post Chuck.

    Kman wants to have the government silence corporations … like the Times? If the Times can try to influence politics why can’t another corporation? How far removed from being the “press” does a corporation have to be silenced Who decides and who watches the deciders? How do the watchers make themselves known?

    quasimodo (4af144)

  17. First, the notion that corporations have some of the same rights as individuals is a very old one in the law.

    Not true. As early as the 1st Congress, James Madison summed up the founding-era vision of corporations: “[A] charter of incorporation creates an artificial person not… existing in law”. Something which did not exist did not have natural rights, like those protected by the Constitution.

    Second, the purpose of the 1st Amendment was not to confer rights upon individuals, it was to prohibit Congress from ever encroaching on those issues.

    Correct. Especially the individuals part.

    Finally, the thought that a group of people would give up their rights to speak freely, advocate political views, or publish anything they wished — in their own name or in the name of a corporation — simply because they formed a corporation is ludicrous

    Those people still have the same rights as always. They don’t “give them up” simply because they form a corporation. The issue is whether the corporation does (or ought to) have rights of its own. The issue is whether the corporation can exercise in political speech, even if that speech doesn’t represent the views of those who make up the corporation.

    Kman (5576bf)

  18. By the way. It is up to the individual owner of a stock, be it a part of a fund or an individual purchase, to do his homework of the actions of the entity in which he is an owner. Kman’s whining notwithstanding, it’s up to you to determine who you associate with.

    Makewi (0864f9)

  19. … even if that speech doesn’t represent the views of those who make up the corporation union.

    What’s good for the goose is good for the goon

    quasimodo (4af144)

  20. In Kman’s world an organization can take no action whatsoever unless every member agrees beforehand.

    Makewi (0864f9)

  21. Kman, every argument that you apply to limiting corporations free speech applies equally to unions.

    Would you be willing to stomach the same limitation on unions?

    The hoops that Colbert is having to go through, to try and exercise his right of speech illuminates how fundamentally screwed up the “election laws” are. Most of them are about trying to suppress the speech of your opponents while leaving your supporters free to speak as much as they want.

    LarryD (feb78b)

  22. Kman, every argument that you apply to limiting corporations free speech applies equally to unions.

    Would you be willing to stomach the same limitation on unions?

    Yes.

    Kman (5576bf)

  23. Whatever corporations have to say was ultimately said by people. That’s a fact. Every comment that GE’s NBC commentators, or The New York Times Company Incorporated’s employees say came from a person.

    The idea that there is ‘more’ free speech for corporations is simply an attempt to say that rich people can say more than poor people.

    What’s really pathetic about this is that corporations are owned by thousands of people. They assemble together, and are what democracy looks like. It’s the cure for a few rich people dominating what can and can’t be said.

    Also, it’s 2011. Everyone can reach people with their speech.

    The issue is whether the corporation can exercise in political speech, even if that speech doesn’t represent the views of those who make up the corporation.

    No, you’re just making crap up now. Shareholders are represented via their votes. If you’re claiming this is illegitimate, you’re also claiming that Obama is.

    The real issue here is whether or not it is legal for a video critical of Hillary Clinton to be aired.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  24. It doesn’t matter if the corporation itself is deemed a person or not. It’s individual members most certainly are and some of those members are granted the responsibility of speaking for the organization.

    You must know on some level how weak your arguments really are Kman.

    Makewi (0864f9)

  25. You also have the problem of corporations being multi-national in character. And I have a problem with corporations being able to “speak” (i.e., spend massive amounts of money) in elections, where those corporations are owned in large part by non-U.S. interests.

    Kman (5576bf)

  26. Kmart is just silly.

    JD (d48c3b)

  27. Instead of letting Kman or people like Obama decide what is and isn’t acceptable speech, how about we simply not regulate expression?

    What is so horrible about free speech?

    Just start a blog or a newspaper or invest your money in PACs or even corporations you wish to assemble with.

    We see Obama repeatedly act like a thug with the press. Trying to exclude Fox News by calling them categorically different from MSNBC and CNN, as not journalism, while much of the rest of the media was coordinating via Journolist (and still are today via other means)? A long pattern of hostility to reporters who don’t accept their narrative? A complaint over the location of Mitt Romney’s op-ed in a newspaper (leading to pulling a reporter from a press pool)?

    We cannot go down a road where free speech is regulated by the government.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  28. You also have the problem of corporations being multi-national in character. And I have a problem with corporations being able to “speak” (i.e., spend massive amounts of money) in elections, where those corporations are owned in large part by non-U.S. interests.

    Let’s silence George Soros.

    quasimodo (4af144)

  29. STFU. Kmart will determine who is allowed to speak.

    JD (29e1cd)

  30. So now you are suggesting that we limit the speech of those who are not citizens? An Israeli or Palestinian should not be able to take out an ad in the WaPo which expresses a viewpoint simply because they are not American. How about immigrants, legal or otherwise who are living within the nations borders – should they be required to keep their mouths shut about political issues.

    Face it, the most important free speech topic is politics. Why you would advocate for limiting that speech is beyond me.

    Makewi (0864f9)

  31. And I have a problem with corporations being able to “speak” where those corporations are owned by non-U.S. interests.

    Comment by Kman (I truncated it, so this is basically a paraphrase) —

    What the hell is wrong with you?

    This is just an ad hoc argument. You don’t really think the bill of rights doesn’t apply to foreigners.

    If you have a problem with a non-American speaking to Americans, you’re crazy. It’s as simple as that. The real response is MORE SPEECH, if what they say is unreasonable.

    But then, if I’m not mistaken, I recall you quoting non Americans who are critical of Bush or praise Obama. You actually think it matters what the rest of the world thinks about various political matters.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  32. Why you would advocate for limiting that speech is beyond me.

    Comment by Makewi

    It’s because he’s afraid his views can’t hold their own in a fair debate.

    For example, he refuses to link his blog here because he wants to make sure it’s an echo chamber. He also calls this blog an echo chamber despite his insistence on restrictions on free speech.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  33. Makewi – they are totalitarians. At heart, and in practice. Plus, they would allow the decidedly leftist MFM to be the sole source of political messaging.

    JD (d48c3b)

  34. “And I have a problem with corporations being able to “speak” (i.e., spend massive amounts of money) in elections, where those corporations are owned in large part by non-U.S. interests.”

    Kman – Do you have a problem with organization such as the Center for American Progress taking large amounts of foreign money and funneling it to their action arms such as Think Progress to influence American elections?

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  35. Face it, the most important free speech topic is politics. Why you would advocate for limiting that speech is beyond me.

    I’m all for political speech, but I have a problem when “speech” means “the expenditure of money for a political campaign”, which (unfortunately) the Supreme Court says it is.

    And then when you have that speech essentially emanating from non-U.S. interests, and in such massive amounts that it drowns out the “speech” from individual Americans, well…. yes I have a problem with that, too.

    Why? Don’t you?

    Kman (5576bf)

  36. He also calls this blog an echo chamber despite his insistence on restrictions on free speech.

    That will leave a mark.
    ….If only he knew it.

    quasimodo (4af144)

  37. Kman – Do you have a problem with organization such as the Center for American Progress taking large amounts of foreign money and funneling it to their action arms such as Think Progress to influence American elections?

    Very much. I have a problem with it whether it’s BP or CAP.

    Kman (5576bf)

  38. Kman – Your 1st Amendment argument is just bulldookey. As Obama chastised the Supreme Court at his SOTU address, the left was merely afraid of corporations controlling elections with spending, which they assumed would be on Republican candidates. He ignored the fact that money could not be contributed directly to candidates.

    Democrats lose on the basis of ideas and want to avoid a level playing field at all costs. That is really what this is about.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  39. “Very much. I have a problem with it whether it’s BP or CAP.”

    Kman – Then tell CAP to stop illegally taking foreign money to influence U.S. elections.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  40. He ignored the fact that money could not be contributed directly to candidates.

    It doesn’t have to be contributed directly to candidates in order to have an impact. In fact, that was what Citizens United was all about.

    Kman (5576bf)

  41. Remember, there’s really only one news outlet on TV today that isn’t dominated by democrats. Even that one, Fox News, is mostly staffed by democrats, but it’s often willing to be much more critical than the other networks.

    As a result, Obama said they were not a legitimate news organization, sentenced them to one year without an interview, and ordered their reporter pulled from the press pool.

    Since then, things have actually gotten worse:

    Last month the White House kicked San Francisco Chronicle reporter Carla Marinucci out of the local press pool for recording protesters at an Obama event. And according to Chronicle editor at large Phil Bronstein, “more than a few journalists familiar with this story are aware of some implied threats from the White House of additional and wider punishment if Carla’s spanking became public.”

    Yes, it scares Obama that conservatives can speak freely. He’s an anti human rights pig, like Kman, and we shouldn’t forget that we’ll have to work twice as hard because of the chilling effect this has on many major media outlets.

    If someone has a political opinion that isn’t libel, threats, etc, it doesn’t matter how democrats describe it. Whether they say you’re a ‘teabagger racist’ or a ‘corporate shill’ or ‘Koch astroturf’, these arguments are not sufficient for the government to infringe on the speech. Period.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  42. I’m all for political speech, but I have a problem when “speech” means “the expenditure of money for a political campaign”, which (unfortunately) the Supreme Court says it is.

    Then you are not really for speech. You’re for being the guy who gets to determine what speech is. Big difference.

    And then when you have that speech essentially emanating from non-U.S. interests, and in such massive amounts that it drowns out the “speech” from individual Americans, well…. yes I have a problem with that, too.

    Now you are simply confused. There are limitations in place with regards to contributions to political campaigns from foreign sources. That’s enough for me.

    What you are suggesting is far worse. You are suggesting that a person cannot express a political viewpoint if that speech a) costs money and b) originates from a foreign source. Now not only do you want the right to limit the speech within of our citizens, you want the right to extend your reach farther. All in the name of protecting poor impressionable Americans.

    You’re really very sweet I guess. What with looking out for your very gullible countrymen like that. A giver you are.

    Why? Don’t you?

    The attempt at taking the moral high ground is amusing. But we both know you’ve failed.

    Makewi (0864f9)

  43. JD – Yes, they are petty tyrants. They will decide for our own good.

    Makewi (0864f9)

  44. Guys, just ignore Kman

    He has zero honesty. Look at this statement here:

    > I’m saying the Supreme Court’s “fact” is erroneous and certainly not in line with the intent of the Founding Fathers.

    When has he EVER cared about the intent of the founding fathers. He has indeed said that the constitution means only what the Supreme Court says it does. When I asked him if that means that if the Supreme Court declared that a virgin shall be sacrificed on the Supreme Court’s steps every month to the sun god “Ra” that this would be what the constitution requires, he actually said yes.

    And now suddenly he cares about the founding fathers?

    Kman would declare corporations wholly beyond the first amendment. The moment you associate in a corporation, you lose your right to speak freely. So by his interpretation, they could pass laws stating that corporations cannot support republicans only, and in his mind that is kosher under the constitution.

    It is mercenary logic, which if he had any sense of principle, he would oppose.

    Don’t bother with him. He is not arguing in good faith. In other words, he is a lying POS when he pretends these are sincere arguments.

    Aaron Worthing (73a7ea)

  45. and btw, the “its just about spending” theory is silly on its face. Citizens united was told it could not spend money to buy advertisements.

    Now do you call that a spending restriction, or a speech restriction.

    Kman fundamentally doesn’t believe in democracy, to be blunt.

    Aaron Worthing (73a7ea)

  46. No, he’s not arguing in good faith. He just set up such easily destroyed arguments that it seemed a shame not to.

    Makewi (0864f9)

  47. Kman does not want to deny corporations all rights in our society, only selective ones he does not like.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  48. Maybe he works for Google they hire LSE grads – I heard

    EricPWJohnson (becc0d)

  49. Is it just me, or has Kman become drastically dumber in the past two weeks or so? It seems like he really falls on his ass lately. I think he’s given up the pretense of being honest, and just wants to stir up hornet nests.

    Note that he just ignores my request for his blog’s URL. He has one, but it’s a secret he wants safe from conservative dissent, and he calls this blog an echo chamber.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  50. I’m saying the Supreme Court’s “fact” is erroneous and certainly not in line with the intent of the Founding Fathers.

    So then New York Times Co. v. United States was wrongly decided?

    Michael Ejercito (64388b)

  51. I think Kman makes some good points. I also think his detractors are misrepresenting his arguments. Maybe his past history justifies this, but I am only interested in his comments on this post.

    He has not said that individuals lose their right to free speech when they join a corporation.

    He has not said (or even implied) corporations are beyond the first amendment.

    He makes the valid point that “corporate” speech is not the result of some internal democracy within corporations.

    Dispatches (b25c28)

  52. I meant to say Colbert is only funny when he wants to be.

    And ADL only supports Israel when they want to do.

    DohBiden (15aa57)

  53. He makes the valid point that “corporate” speech is not the result of some internal democracy within corporations.

    It’s a point. It’s also irrelevant.

    Makewi (0864f9)

  54. Yes corporations do not deserve free speech unless they make ads portraying Repubs pushing minorities off a cliff.

    DohBiden (15aa57)

  55. This

    He has not said (or even implied) corporations are beyond the first amendment.

    is not accurate because of this:

    I have a problem with corporations being able to “speak” (i.e., spend massive amounts of money) in elections, where those corporations are owned in large part by non-U.S. interests.

    and this:

    Basically, the objection stems from the notion that the Bill of Rights was intended to benefit corporations just as much, if not more, than living individual people. Corporations are mere creatures of the law that are not and should not be treated the same as “We the People” by whom and for whom the Constitution was written.

    -=

    He makes the valid point that “corporate” speech is not the result of some internal democracy within corporations.

    Comment by Dispatches

    It depends. Though I know it’s not like our government is pure democracy. People speak for corporations because they are often appointed to do so. The New York Times Company Corporation chooses who speaks for the company in a very different way from how Whole Foods does.

    So what? There is a democratic process for shareholders to ultimately hold a corporation’s leadership accountable for how they run the company, including how they choose spokesmen.

    It’s more democratic than even American democracy, as it’s really easy to just leave the corporation. You don’t have to assemble with them if you don’t want to. You actually have to go out of your way to opt in.

    Citizens United shouldn’t have been stopped from advertising their program just because the people who wanted to were doing so assembled as a corporation. If you don’t see how that is infringing on their right to speak and assemble, you should read the briefs of the case more carefully.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  56. Palestine will never live together with Israel.

    DohBiden (15aa57)

  57. “I think Kman makes some good points. I also think his detractors are misrepresenting his arguments.”

    Dispatches – Just substitute the word Unions for Corporations wherever it appears in Kman’s comments and see if you still agree.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  58. Was there any hint of an actual argument in Dispatches comment?

    Dispatches: please go ahead and make the good point you are asserting (without even naming!) is good. Don’t just tell us we’re wrong.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  59. Dispatches is another kman shill who thinks those who disagree with the left are a bunch of racists.

    DohBiden (15aa57)

  60. Once again KTURD takes the absolute opposite and indefensible opinion to Aaron.

    I have a suggestion: BAN HIS ASS UNTIL HE POSTS THE LINK TO HIS BLOG.

    peedoffamerican (ee1de0)

  61. Kman’s #5 just described unions….Just sayin’

    Patrick (5903bd)

  62. Kman doesn’t seem to recognize the irony of his argument. On one hand he says corporations should not be allowed political speech because he thinks some people “may” own stock in the company and not even know because it is in a mutual fund. And that these unknowing stockholders “might” disagree with the corporations speech.

    On the other hand, I am sure that he does not object to the political speech of unions, including SEIU. Many union members are forced to join unions and they are then forced to pay dues. Members have no say in determining what that speech will include. Look at the funds unions spent electing Democrats and forcing Obamacare on the rest of us while getting waivers for those same unions. I am positive that not all union members are Democrats yet they are all forced to contribute….

    As far as corporations go, investors can choose whether or not to invest. I for example would never invest in Heinz, won’t even buy their ketchup! My choice! But union members do not have the choice to stop their forceably taken dues to support Democrats….

    Texas Mom 2012 (cee89f)

  63. From comment #22

    Question:
    “Kman, every argument that you apply to limiting corporations free speech applies equally to unions.

    Would you be willing to stomach the same limitation on unions?”

    Response:
    “Yes.”

    Dispatches (932c3b)

  64. Dispatches must be ignorant of kmart’s history.

    Dispatches – do you think the same rule for corporations should apply to the NEA, SEIU. MSNBC, the NY Times Corp, CPB, etc …?

    JD (29e1cd)

  65. Why do leftists (some) hate freedom of speech and expression?

    JD (306f5d)

  66. JD.

    In response to your question: yes.

    I think the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizen United was correct.

    BUT: I am much less sanguine than many who post here are about the practical implications of this conclusion for democracy.

    Dispatches (7e2acc)

  67. Dispatches, we know what Kman said. Why just quote it?

    It’s been shown his argument contradicts his views in other threads, which I do grant doesn’t make the arguments themselves wrong. It does show that Kman is dishonest, but few people care about that jackass anyway.

    Do you have an argument? Why did you ignore my questions directed at you? Surely you didn’t come here simply to repeatedly quote and praise Kman, of all people.

    BTW, if you’re a reader of his blog, would you link it for me?

    Dustin (c16eca)

  68. In response to your question: yes.

    You think the NYT should be forbidden from political speech by the US Government?

    Damn.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  69. Dustin. What? Are you saying the law of the land is corporations are forbidden from political speech by the US government?

    Dispatches (7e2acc)

  70. Colbert and Stewart are smug, arrogant morons. That is the one point they drive home on each and every show. The only amusement they bring to me is when they demonstrate their own ignorance throughout their shows…

    WarEagle (2ca889)

  71. That response was mendoucheous, dispatches.

    JD (29e1cd)

  72. Zing,JD! Awesome response, mate.

    Dispatches (7e2acc)

  73. Dustin. What? Are you saying the law of the land is corporations are forbidden from political speech by the US government?

    Comment by Dispatches

    Well, to be clear: absolutely not. I think Kman is wrong, and freedom of expression cannot be regulated on the basis of who is saying it. Thanks to this clear standard, I don’t have to rely on anyone deciding which corporations or organizations have which rights.

    Of course, it appears you agree with me when challenged, but some of your statements are impossible to understand, so I asked you a point blank question.

    At least you replied this time. Though you do so without really trying to make an argument.

    BUT: I am much less sanguine than many who post here are about the practical implications of this conclusion for democracy.

    Be more clear. What are you worried about?

    We live in an era of the Tea Party beating the more powerful corporate speakers in the world, the MSM, at setting the political tone. We live in an era where anyone can speak pretty damn loudly and easily. Sure, you can’t force millions of people to read what you have to write, but if your ideas are good enough, it’s practically free to speak to that many people.

    I don’t think you have much to worry about for democracy. The union advantage was somewhat undermined. The government lost some power to regulate speech.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  74. Would this blog exist if it weren’t for Kman’s gas blorting out all over creation.

    What a petty liberal fascist know-nothing!

    Bear1909 (495d78)

  75. Actually Kman did say right from the beginning that he supports the same restriction on unions. So that’s not a valid ground for attacking him.

    But his entire premise collapses as soon as one looks at the case itself. When IBM makes a political statement, it may be that there are shareholders who’d rather it didn’t; but does Kman seriously expect us to believe that there was even one member of Citizens United who did not agree with the film it made?! On the contrary, as I understand it the entire purpose of the corporation was to pool its members’ resources in order to produce that film! And yet Kman would have had the court uphold the FEC’s power to ban it. Go explain that, if you can.

    Milhouse (a8afa6)

  76. Dustin. What? Are you saying the law of the land is corporations are forbidden from political speech by the US government?

    It was until Citizens United was decided. And it will be again if that decision is reversed, as both Obama and Kman wish it to be.

    Milhouse (a8afa6)

  77. I was zinging nobody, dispatch. I was pointing out that you were being mendoucheous. And you were/are. #71 was either ignorant, or dishonest. Or both.

    JD (d48c3b)

  78. For the typical corporation, a small cadre of directors and officers manage the
    corporation’s affairs under a fiduciary duty to maximize profits. The vast majority of the corporation’s so-called members do nothing more than invest their money in the hope of sharing in those profits.

    Actually that is not how the typical corporation works. Most corporations are small, and all members or shareholders are either actively involved or are consulted as frequently as they care to be.

    Milhouse (a8afa6)

  79. I have a problem with corporations being able to “speak” (i.e., spend massive amounts of money) in elections, where those corporations are owned in large part by non-U.S. interests.

    Do you also have a problem with individual foreigners expressing their opinion during a US election campaign? US national elections affect the whole world. People, companies, and entire nations overseas see their future in the balance at every US election and they don’t get a vote; but do you really think they have no right even to urge USAns to vote for their preferred candidate?! Are they supposed to suffer in silence and wait for their lords and masters to determine their fate?

    Milhouse (a8afa6)

  80. The idea that the Citizens United case was just about large public, for-profit, corporations is fatuous Democrat spin. It is extraordinarily rare for for-profit corporations to spend money on issue ads.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  81. That’s a good point, SPQR, but I guess I’m too busy focusing on the principle of the matter (that a corporation can do that if they want to) to notice that this is mainly spin.

    Citizen United is a textbook example of people assembling and speaking out about a political issue. It’s not Wal Mart saying ‘Vote for Bush.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  82. Those people still have the same rights as always. They don’t “give them up” simply because they form a corporation. The issue is whether the corporation does (or ought to) have rights of its own.

    So if you and I would both like to run an ad urging the public to vote for a candidate or proposal we support, or against one we oppose, but each of us can only afford half the cost of such an ad, we should both be silenced, while our richer opponent who can afford an ad all by himself may run one?!

    Milhouse (a8afa6)

  83. milhouse

    seriously, kman is not arguing in any good faith. he is literally contradicting his own prior comments.

    Why bother replying to that?

    Aaron Worthing (73a7ea)

  84. “It is extraordinarily rare for for-profit corporations to spend money on issue ads.”

    Are Planned Parenthood and NARAL not-for-profits? Do they run ads? What about Moron.org?

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  85. The proverbial fish in a barrel:
    Comment by Kman — 5/19/2011 @ 11:45 am
    3. I think you miss what the objection to Citizen United is.
    — I think you’re missing objectivity chromosomes.

    Basically, the objection stems from the notion that the Bill of Rights was intended to benefit corporations just as much, if not more, than living individual people.
    — Surely the list of people with the “notion” that the Bill of Rights was intended to benefit corporations MORE than individuals will be forthcoming. Don’t hold your breath, though.

    Corporations are mere creatures of the law that are not and should not be treated the same as “We the People” by whom and for whom the Constitution was written.
    — Freedom for me, but not for thee?

    To suggest that corporations have “natural” rights endowed to them “by their Creator” is ludicrous, since corporations do not appear in nature, and their Creator, rather than being God…. is us.
    — So … it’s because they are not “natural” that they don’t deserve certain rights? And it’s just a very short leap from there to a ‘fairness doctrine’, innit it?

    They are creatures of law in that they are given perpetual life and limited liability — something that humans do not have — in return for other limitations which may be imposed on them from time to time.
    — Therefore, ipso facto, they don’t enjoy the right to participate in the political process? Why? Because YOU say so?

    I don’t mind corporations having free speech, and God knows they have plenty of it, usually in the form of advertisements.
    — And God knows there’s no regulation of what IS and IS NOT permissable in advertising [major eye roll].

    But it doesn’t offend the Constitution to limit the amount that corporations (and unions) engage in electioneering.
    — Yeah, because free speech (which you “don’t mind”) and electioneering are two different things; right?

    Icy Texan (ecd20f)

  86. More of Kman’s FIBs (aka Fish in a Barrel II)
    The vast majority of the corporation’s so-called members do nothing more than invest their money in the hope of sharing in those profits. Are those members ever consulted on the corporation’s “speech”?
    — Ever heard of “shareholder’s meetings”?

    Rarely, if ever.
    — How do you know this?

    So how can you say they acting “in concert”?
    — Ever heard of the right to sell your shares if the corporation makes decisions to which you object?

    But that right was in reference to people assembling for a common purpose.
    — [Channeling Reagan] There he goes again, imposing the idea of “intent” upon a plain-language document.

    But if I own a mutual fund, I may own a piece of a corporation and not even know it.
    — Unless you . . . uh, you know, exercise your legal right to be informed of the names of every corporation that your mutual fund invests in . . . or something.

    The only people really “assembled” for a corporation are the directors and officers.
    — Just can’t get over the fact that we have a representative republican form of government, can you? And God forbid that the business world would emulate that structure. Workers of the world unite!!!

    But they are using the “voice” of thousands of others who may not even agree with the message.
    — I don’t like it when Barack Obama tells people that he’s speaking on behalf of ME, but I don’t go around asserting that he’s violating the Constitution by doing it either.

    I’m saying the Supreme Court’s “fact” is erroneous and certainly not in line with the intent of the Founding Fathers.
    — Like I said, it’s all about supposed “intent” with you libs. It’s a ‘living breathing document’ EXCEPT for anytime when it doesn’t suit your purposes. How con-ven-ient (accent on “con”).

    Something which did not exist did not have natural rights, like those protected by the Constitution.
    — Too bad about that pesky 10th Amendment. Or, is it too bad that corporations came into existence, comrade?

    The issue is whether the corporation does (or ought to) have rights of its own.
    — Yeah! Why the hell should you enjoy freedom at home AND at work? Bloody greedy capitalists!

    The issue [redefining your point in mid-paragraph; someone’s not focusing very well today] is whether the corporation can exercise in political speech, even if that speech doesn’t represent the views of those who make up the corporation.
    — I think Kman is on to something here (and no, I don’t mean … this time … that he accidentally sat on his tinfoil hat) which bears strong consideration: government enacting of regulations to FORCE shareholder votes to approve all political speech engaged in by the corporations. Ha! There’s some democracy for ya!

    Icy Texan (ecd20f)

  87. Kman’s FIB, Part Tres:
    25. You also have the problem of corporations being multi-national in character.
    — Diversity really IS a “problem” for you guys, isn’t it? Unless you can segregate and exploit diverse groups for political gain, that is.

    And I have a problem with corporations being able to “speak” (i.e., spend massive amounts of money) in elections, where those corporations are owned in large part by non-U.S. interests.
    — Kman will now provide some examples of same . . . any year now . . . um-hmm . . .

    I’m all for political speech, but I have a problem when “speech” means “the expenditure of money for a political campaign”, which (unfortunately) the Supreme Court says it is.
    — So, you want an end to all monetary contributions to political campaigns? Just exactly HOW MUCH freedom of choice (in the name of ‘fairness’ of course) do you want to rob people of?

    And then when you have that speech essentially emanating from non-U.S. interests, and in such massive amounts that it drowns out the “speech” from individual Americans, well…. yes I have a problem with that, too.
    — Easy solution: Political Lottery Tickets. The randomly drawn winners get to air their own political ads free of charge.

    Icy Texan (ecd20f)

  88. “Seriously, does he not understand that he has managed to prove that, if anything, Citizens United didn’t go far enough?”

    Do you understand that this argument works with Colbert and pretty much nobody else who isn’t in his exact position?

    Hell, it doesn’t even apply to the other TV personalities he cites who promote their PACs on TV in exactly the same way but they’re not on his particular channel. Seriously.

    backstop (b11060)

  89. Btw, anyone notice that Kman is not only idiotically wrong to say that this is about expenditures, but he could only get that wrong IF HE DIDN’T EVEN WATCH THE VIDEO?

    I mean listen to the discussion and when they talk about Colbert promoting the PAC on his show the lawyer says part of the problem is that it is an donation in kind to the PAC. In kind is legal code language meaning a donation not of money but by doing something. So in fact the discussion was explicitly NOT about expenditures.

    And every lawyer would know that. Or, well… every competent lawyer would know that, which means… ah crap, Kman probably did watch it, then…

    Joking aside, Kman, which are you? Incompetent or lazy?

    Aaron Worthing (73a7ea)

  90. Hmmm . . . ‘backstop’ seems to be more of a skidmark.

    Icy Texan (ecd20f)

  91. Brave Sir Kman ran away!

    Icy Texan (108534)

  92. Obviously there is plenty of Denial. While the Koch Brothers/Koch Industries created and fund the Tea Party,wuith an agenda like the group their Father helped found and Fund, the John Birch Society, the Koch/Tea group also fund 2 dozen think tanks, bought a half dozen governors, dozens of state senators,several Judges and…reaching a bit, threw money into a school board election in N Car to RESTORE SEGREGATION.

    They intend to Eliminate ALL regulations on ANY of their many predatory or environmentally questionable businesses and they cover the WHOLE spectrum from Wall Street Derivatives,to pipelines to Oil Speculation (driving up the price on every gallon you buy)to Coal to Chemicals,to real estate speculation to Ethanol and Asphalt and ” Risk Management”.

    They also own Georgia Pacific.

    Combined the Koch Bro=about $40 BILLION.

    They want to BUY American Govt.

    ELIMINATE…totally,The EPA,OSHA,Social Security,Medicare,Medicaid,Public Schools, ( not kidding…privatize EVERYTHING)

    They want NO watchdogging their Wall St type schemes,scams,speculations ESPECIALLY the kind that they LOVE ……..BECAUSE they are a RIPOFF.

    Kill unions…totally, no minimum wage..NONE.
    Allow a company to politically BRAINWASH all employees and tell them how to vote….with pressure.

    This is just MAXIMUM greed, Greed without any concience, in fact, Koch SPECIALLIZES in enterprises where NO conscience and BOUGHT, CORRUPTED officials across the board…is their EDGE, their MASTER PLAN.

    They INTEND to get MAX $ off getting rid of over 80 years of reforms, making America a PSEUDO democracy that is actually raw feudalism, owned by…guess who.

    Shills? These guys hatch shills like MOSQUITOS.
    They have THINK TANKS to do DECEPTION,to CONFIUSE and control the SHEEP and…above…the sheep are going BAAAAA

    And so two of the Koch Bros close friends…up to their EARS in conflict of interest ( and here the so-moral right…don’t CARE)…Scalia and Clarence Thompson, don’t Recuse themselves but CREATE the unprecedented PERVERSION of Americanism that, in the ultimate irony,or dirty joke is known as Citizens United…a group that spent $100,000+ years ago to put THOMAS…on the court.

    This ENABLES Koch Industries to TAKE OVER the whole Govt and then WIPE OUT any part they do not like, and that is MUCH of what matters unless you are a John Birch type. This….best case, makes us Mexico, with corruption the CORE of the system, a shaky economy where Rich is DAMN rich and poor is DAMN poor…and there is not much middle ground.

    Worst case is the dark ages,A few aristocrats owning 90% of power and wealth, no abuse is against the law but the poor folks get Religion,and a LOT of it.

    We just legalized BRIBES.

    Get that simple fact…we just made BRIBES…the standard.

    Democracy is now on life support. If YOU don’t give a damn, LIKE a systeem were WEALTH bullies and buys EVERYONE, own EVERYONE laughs at our paper “rights”……fine, ADMIT IT.

    Predators. Parasites, Cheats, Corrupt,

    rerem (872701)

  93. anyone notice that Kman is not only idiotically wrong to say that this is about expenditures, but he could only get that wrong IF HE DIDN’T EVEN WATCH THE VIDEO?

    Knock me down with a feather.

    Dustin (b7410e)

  94. Clean up needed on aisle-94!

    Another Drew - Restore the Republic / Obama Sucks! (ce6d84)

  95. The Kock Bros teabagged rerem.

    JD (318f81)

  96. Thank you rerem. That post of yours at 1:25 provided excellent insight about what really ails our poor America, and offered a fresh reminder of who the enemy is that must be vanquished if our society and democracy is to be saved for future generations.

    elissa (ba6b85)

  97. elissa, poor rerem fails to have the self-awareness to decipher who you’re speaking about.

    Another Drew - Restore the Republic / Obama Sucks! (ce6d84)

  98. Clean up needed on aisle-94!
    Comment by Another Drew – Restore the Republic / Obama Sucks! — 8/16/2011 @ 1:34 pm

    Drive-by troll. Unlikely to return since it doesn’t look like anyone who’s been here before.

    Stashiu3 (601b7d)

  99. AD–heh. I was counting on that.

    elissa (ba6b85)


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