Friday, January 22, 2010

Coke Exxon for President in 2012

Erick Cordero, Mat-Su Valley School Board member didn't need Coke or McDonalds or BP or Chimo Guns or whatever to get him elected in 2009. We'll see how the local elections are effected by Thursday's dreadful U.S. Supreme Court decision in 2010, though.

Of course the decision is going to have far mor effect on bigger races - for the U.S. Congress and Senate, for State governorships, and for President. As if corporations don't have enough power already, eh?

Glenn Greenwald has an excellent contrarian view post up on this decision:

Ultimately, I think the free speech rights burdened by campaign finance laws are often significantly under-stated. I understand and sympathize with the argument that corporations are creatures of the state and should not enjoy the same rights as individuals. And one can't help but note the vile irony that Muslim "War on Terror" detainees have been essentially declared by some courts not to be "persons" under the Constitution, whereas corporations are.

But the speech restrictions struck down by Citizens United do not only apply to Exxon and Halliburton; they also apply to non-profit advocacy corporations, such as, say, the ACLU and Planned Parenthood, as well as labor unions, which are genuinely burdened in their ability to express their views by these laws. I tend to take a more absolutist view of the First Amendment than many people, but laws which prohibit organized groups of people -- which is what corporations are -- from expressing political views goes right to the heart of free speech guarantees no matter how the First Amendment is understood. Does anyone doubt that the facts that gave rise to this case -- namely, the government's banning the release of a critical film about Hillary Clinton by Citizens United -- is exactly what the First Amendment was designed to avoid? And does anyone doubt that the First Amendment bars the government from restricting the speech of organizations composed of like-minded citizens who band together in corporate form to work for a particular cause?

image - Erick Cordero


funkalunatic said...

I can see why people might take the stance, as a matter of principle, that all the speech rights of individuals ought to be extended to organizations which purport to represent groups of individuals (and use the resources of those individuals to do so).

But in reality, polluting industries will always be able to outspend the environmentalists, defense contractors will outspend pro-peace groups, employers will outspend unions, etc, and by large orders of magnitude.

anon. said...

The obvious problem with this ruling is that corporations and entities can now hide their actions and their involvement behind pass through accounts like the US Chamber of Commerce or such other entities which will facilitate their wish to hide their involvement in political action.

And phil, Eric Cordero's campaign might not be the best example here, he did receive his largest contributions from either corporate lobbying entities or pass through accounts that do accept and distribute corporate donations.

I would hope you'd be a bit more careful about setting up some example that doesn't necessarily represent your intent.

Cordero is lauded as the 'progressive candidate' by several Alaska blogs, but how progressive is a politician who aligns himself with Right to Life organizations who oppress women?

Personally, the school board, any school board, shouldn't be viewed or used as a battleground or stepping stone for the political aspirations of special interest issue oriented politicians.

The beatification of Cordero as the darling of the progressive movement ought to be viewed in a little more realistic light. You're doing no one any favors by the attempted idealization or revisionist hagiography.

As to the Bush court's ruling, it's a legacy of the long-lasting damage of the Bush era that could take generations to repair.


AKjah said...

I read Greenwalds article earlier. Still mulling it through the grey matter. At this point i would say that this whole thing needs be splaned soz any idjit could under stand. Actually i am giving myself a week to calm down. Cheers Phil.

anon. said...

Greenwald is missing a key point, his defense of the First Amendment is off the mark, just as the SCOTUS ruling is.

The First Amendment wasn't designed or intended to allow for the hiding of political funding.

AKSmoke Salmon said...


Always easier to point it out in a foreign country like China or Iran rather than your own country.

Either you like free speech, or you don't.

And if you don't, I am sure there are plenty of ways to articulate that viewpoint - we have about a thousand years of history on how governments in all disguises hate the idea of freedom of speech, and the right to assembly as individuals, be they organized or not.

Corporations, non-profits, groups of people voluntarily assembling - do we want censorship or not.

At its essence, pretty simple concept.