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The corporate state

By Phil Hoskins
January 21, 2010

The Supreme Court has put what will prove to be the nearly final nail in the coffin of democracy in its 5-4 decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission by removing limits on corporate campaign contributions. While the latest blow came from a Roberts Court, the underpinnings of this disaster go all the way back to the Court finding that corporations are citizens for purposes of the law. Once having given birth to a new class of “citizens” in the corporate form, the ground was set for the final takeover of American politics. Today’s decision is as far reaching as the SCOTUS’ 2000 putsch installing Bush as President. Both decisions are based on the thinnest of Constitutional principles and make clear the 5 Justice majority of this right wing enemy of freedom will go to any lengths to support the “golden revolution.”

For those who may need a bit of historical reference on this issue, the most important decision leading to the Citizens United ruling was that in First Nat. Bank of Boston v. Bellotti which was the first to anoint an artificial entity (corporations) as citizens entitled to the protection under the Constitution. A corporation is not a person in reality, it is a collection of persons who have banded together for purposes of making money. Of course each of the persons who have decided they want the protections afforded this artificial entity are entitled to the same freedoms as any other person in the United States. But why the corporation itself should be afforded status as a person is a step of logic that only those who are enemies of democracy and citizen control over government would favor.

Despite this fundamentally flawed ruling, the Supreme Court ruled in Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce that upheld the limits on corporate spending struck down in today’s ruling by recognizing a new governmental interest in preventing “the corrosive and distorting effects of immense aggregations of [corporate] wealth . . . that have little or no correlation to the public’s support for the corporation’s political ideas.” The new decision by the SCOTUS specifically overruled this rationale thereby declaring that the government has no such interest and even if it does, the corporate interest in buying elections supersedes it.

The corporation as citizen decision looms as one of the most devastating since the Dred Scott debacle. With the Citizens United ruling there it is unclear if any restrictions on corporations can be imposed by Congress or the states with regard to campaigns and the political process. Corporations, which now own nearly every aspect of life in America, are now free to complete their take over of the entire political process.

They already have nearly complete control over Congress through lobbying and other means of political extortion. They are already able through PAC’s to dominate elections.  Now they will not need to go through this subterfuge any more and they are free to directly fund all the elections they wish. How can citizens hope to have any impact on democratic institutions when they will be outspent by corporations.

This threat applies to both right, left and center politics. Some will say that the decision not only favors corporations but unions as well. That is an illusion.  Corporate wealth dwarfs unions abilitiy to provide political funding by many billions of dollars. The real victim in this decision is you and I, people who struggle to redirect this government, whether to the right, left or simply toward good government. It is we who have lost all hope of impacting future elections.

We have today witnessed as effective a takeover of government as if bayonet wielding troops had ransacked Washington D.C. This “golden revolution” is breathtaking if it were not so diabolical. Elections which already were tweedle dee and tweedle dum are now simply shadow matches to keep us occupied while big money interests complete their pillaging of our nation.

Election “surprises” such as the Massachusetts GOP upset are nothing compared to the impact of this decision by the SCOUTS. Democracy is over. Long live the corporation.

39 Responses to The corporate state

  1. almandine

    January 22, 2010 at 10:02 pm

    VOTING is the one thing corporations cannot do. Thus, it takes more than money to put reps into office. Quit bitching and get to work.

  2. woody188

    January 22, 2010 at 11:36 pm

    Diebold proved that assumption to be incorrect.

  3. almandine

    January 23, 2010 at 9:50 am

    Agreed that ballot-box stuffing may turn the outcome, but corporate electioneering, per se, can have little effect in an educated, thoughtful, goal-oriented populace.

    No need to respond about the populace – I get it – but my get-to-work admonition is aimed squarely at changing that tide too.

  4. issodhos

    January 24, 2010 at 10:05 pm

    Well, that is what happens when political collectivists, both of the right and the left, seek to grow Leviathan to be used for their own purposes rather than restrict themselves to the concept of a limited government. As much as many of those who have sought to and have succeeded in obfuscating the words and meaning of the Constitution (or as Garet Garrett said in “People’s Pottage”, and I paraphrase, like hagfish gutting a carcass while leaving behind its form) it is no surprise that the damage continues to so easilly done. Why, one would even think that it was a democracy, not a Republic, that served as the foundation of our form of government.;-)
    Yours,
    Issodhos

  5. danders3

    January 25, 2010 at 7:58 am

    This isn’t the first time the court has ruled that money is speech and therefore protected by the first amendment. There really shouldn’t be that much shock as to the ruling.

    And, as long as the majority of the time the candidate who spends the most ends up being the one that gets elected, the power that such money wields will continue unabated.

    The public currently has three options:

    Vote against the big spenders.

    Band together and raise money to try to buy their
    own influence.

    Take down their pants, and slide on the ice.

  6. almandine

    January 28, 2010 at 2:19 pm

  7. almandine

    January 29, 2010 at 1:24 pm

    And he says to himself, “I thought sure this link would bring an uproar!”

  8. Carl Nemo

    January 29, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    “The strength of America,” Murray Hill Inc. said, “is in the boardrooms, country clubs and Lear jets of America’s great corporations. We’re saying to Wal-Mart, AIG and Pfizer, if not you, who? If not now, when?” Murray Hill Inc. added: “It’s our democracy. We bought it, we paid for it, and we’re going to keep it.” Murray Hill Inc., a diversifying corporation in the Washington, D.C. area, has long held an interest in politics and sees corporate candidacy as an “emerging new market.” …extract from link article

    Thanks Almandine for supplying the link. I just got around to reading the material this AM. Wow is all I can say and you said…”who woulda thunk”.

    When I read the above paragraph you would have thought this was an “Onion” spoof, but sadly it is not. I also like the flag showing the stars replaced with corporate logos. At least it’s an ‘honest flag’.

    All I can say is that talk of corporations taking over America and the world at large is no longer theoretical politics, but the real deal. This recent SCOTUS ruling will allow them to “strut their stuff”.

    The crimpols we have in Congress if they were smart would take the President’s cue and immediately pass legislation to overturn this ruling by passing law that strips corporations of all aspects of their now legally indemnified personhood. They best do so asap because it means they will be out of the loop concerning their piece of the action.

    I’m thinking if corporations are now persons will future Congressional reps show up in appropriate corporate costumes? We’d have “Ronald McDonald”, a Colonel Sanders look alike for “Kentucky Fried Chicken”, the “Jack in the Box” guy with the round head, smiley face look with carrot nose et al. Soon there will be no more human faces to identify; but simply spot our new Congressional leadership as entities in corporate costumes… : ))

    Carl Nemo **==

  9. almandine

    January 29, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    And then the mergers: Kentucky Fried Ron in the Box!

    What a vision Carl… but then seriously, this type of corporate in-you-face or tongue-in-cheek (I’m hoping) can only be good.

    Ya think?

  10. griff

    January 30, 2010 at 11:22 pm

  11. hologram5

    February 4, 2010 at 5:13 pm

    I have heard the arguements on the side of the first amendment. This amendment does not apply to “things”, it only applies to “people” as people are the only things with speech. The status of “personhood” given to corporations by the very court system that gave them “free speech” was a constitutional “no-no” to begin with. How can a thing be a “person”? It cannot and therefore I charge that it is a violation of constitutional law to begin with to grant this fallacy to the corps in the first place. Any thoughts? Here is something I found:
    Personhood is the legal fiction that
    Property is a Person.

  12. griff

    February 4, 2010 at 6:54 pm

    Furthermore, if a corporation is considered to have the same rights as an individual, then why haven’t they lifted the contribution limits for individuals?

  13. woody188

    February 4, 2010 at 10:28 pm

    And if a corporation is a person, then it can’t be owned, lest we endorse slavery once more.

  14. Warren

    February 5, 2010 at 10:26 pm

    I was playing around with a photo manipulation program this morning. You might get a smile from the result. See it [here].

    —W—

  15. Carl Nemo

    February 5, 2010 at 10:33 pm

    Good work Warren. It’s a “keeper”. :))

    It might not be too far from the truth. In the near future the PRC will no doubt be our national landlord.

    Carl Nemo **==

  16. Phil Hoskins

    February 14, 2010 at 2:12 pm

    Nicely done Warren.

    This decision has really dispirited me — a bit of writer’s block going on

  17. Jeffery Haas

    February 19, 2010 at 6:54 pm

    “a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism…”

  18. Carl Nemo

    January 21, 2010 at 5:50 pm

    Great coverage of this sorry ruling Phil. Well I guess we now have it officially, the U.S. is a fasci-corporatist state, the citizens simply subordinate to their needs and mandates, ordered so as a function of their running dog shills in Congress.  The current corporatist friendly healthcare bill is an example. 

    We’re toast and the only thing that can change it is massive protests; ie., wildcat strikes, no shows and massive picketing then on to open revolution; ie., if the people want to restore their country to some semblance of being representative based Republic. 

    It seems we best learn who our betters are…no? : |

    Carl Nemo **==

     

  19. Janice

    January 21, 2010 at 5:57 pm

    Sadly, Carl Nemo, you are correct.

  20. griff

    January 21, 2010 at 8:41 pm

    Mussolini would be proud.

  21. logtroll

    January 30, 2010 at 9:57 pm

    General Nemo,

    I seem to have misplaced my copy of “Revolution for Dummies”. Would you have a spare to loan?

    At your service, private Dunnahau Todoit

    (Ouch! No fair! That monkey turd had a rock in it!)

  22. Janice

    January 21, 2010 at 5:51 pm

    RIP democracy…

  23. woody188

    January 21, 2010 at 5:53 pm

    Let fascism reign from sea to shining sea.  We’re definitely FUBAR now.

  24. Phil Hoskins

    January 21, 2010 at 6:10 pm

  25. Janice

    January 21, 2010 at 7:02 pm

    …and what are the chances of this happening?

    This horrible infringement against our basic democratic freedoms is done in the worst possible time – when the average citizen is afraid or unable to take off of work to protect, or fight against this insane decision.  It will come to fighting to survive or fighting for our freedoms.  How many of us will be able to, or couragesous enough to choose both?  I do not believe this is coincidence!

  26. twocanpete

    January 21, 2010 at 6:12 pm

    Nail in the coffin, are you kidding me? Is the author aware of the 1st Amendment?

  27. bryan mcclellan

    January 21, 2010 at 7:06 pm

    The bird, bird, bird, has the word.

    Time to take flight on wings never meant to fail…

    Hack…

  28. JerryG

    January 21, 2010 at 8:25 pm

    I would like to take this opportunity to propose a new theory as to where this nation may be headed in light the recent SCOTUS decision and the absence of any real centrist, populist movement. I call it the “Perpetual Lame Duck President Theory.” In short, the theory states that the forces of unlimited money and media will be able to thwart the will of democratic populism as it pertains to the Presidency such that the initiatives and ambitions upon which he/she was elected will be purposefully obstructed  by the opposing force in order to sustain the staus quo until there is a shift in its favor. Then the process starts all over again except the entities are different. Eventually, this will trickle down throughout our democracy (the “quantum political level”) and result in one force or another prevailing, that force being one specific political agenda impervious to the effects of any other!

     

  29. griff

    January 21, 2010 at 8:34 pm

    Yeah I thought the same thing when I heard of this ruling. Although they have found ways to skirt this in the past, it’s nice (sic) that they’ve made it official. Now there should be no doubt as to where the American People stand (kneel?) in the political pecking order.

    We are in rare agreement on this one , Mr. Hoskins.

  30. Sandra Price

    January 22, 2010 at 5:55 am

    Actually the first amendment gives the rights to corporations as well as free speech.  It is now up to the voters to weed this out.

    I know that my Republican Congressmen from Arizona have always taken money from the Corporations and have ignored any movement to stop.  We have discussed Congressman Shaddeg’s acceptance and he has decided not to run in the next election.  There will be little action from my district as our man Trent Franks is a Christian to the core and Arizona trusts him.  Misplaced trust all along.  When Bush 43 needed one more vote in the House to clinch the Prescription addition to Social Security it was Franks who he called.  You know, Man to Man Christian stuff. 

    The American people have no idea what their members are doing and sadly they don’t care.  The voters are not pissed off enough to stop this mess in D.C. 

    It will take a third or fourth party to clean up American politics.  I starting caring in 1968 when I tried to find out why the voters turned away from fiscal policies and voted for an enlarged federal government.  Americans are now simply subjects owned by the government and financed by the Military Industrial Complex. 

    We can sit and whine!  or we can get our friends and neighbors aware of the loss of our freedoms.  The churches have done this for the last 10 years and nobody cares.  I have nothing more to add to CHB. 

    How many here will even write their Representatives?  3? 

    We elect corrupt politicians who will rake in billions of dollars of advertisements paid for by the Corporations.  Who cares? 

     

    Sandy

     

  31. Carl Nemo

    January 22, 2010 at 11:06 pm

    “How many here will even write their Representatives?  3? ” …extract from post

    I do and all three are Democrats who definitely don’t see eye to eye with my views.  / : |

    I email, call, write snail mails and show up at so-called town-hall meetings, but I always have the feeling that I’m writing, emailing and interfacing with traitors to the Republic and the Constitution for which it stands! : |

    It’s futile, 90 percent or better climb onboard the corporatist, globalist bandwagon once arriving in D.C.  They forget about their constituents back in hometown Mayberry, USA; simply pitching them tasty, pulled-pork sandwiches courtesy of the U.S. Treasury “deli”.  That’s it and we’ll never get anything positive from these lying, traitorous sob’s we have for elected reps and for them to do what’s right for the Republic; ie., “We the people”! 

    Open revolution is the order of the day…period! 

    Carl Nemo **==

    p.s. Btw, Ms. Price I get fatigued by your open indictments against our readership as to how many will contact their reps or their sentiments etc.?  We presumably know you do so, but don’t make the gratuitous assumption that others on CHB/RR don’t! : |

  32. Carl Nemo

    January 22, 2010 at 11:06 pm

    duplicate deleted

  33. neondesert

    January 22, 2010 at 10:03 am

    Actually, this supreme court decision opens the door to a model of efficiency in government.

    Instead of having to waste time corrupting the politicians with lobbyists and lunches, they can just place their pre-bought representatives directly in office.  Thnk of the savings!

  34. griff

    January 22, 2010 at 10:44 am

    Ha. Might as well do away with voting all together while we’re at it.

  35. issodhos

    January 30, 2010 at 7:45 pm

    What does “our basic democratic freedoms” mean?
    Yours,
    Issodhos

  36. almandine

    January 30, 2010 at 11:07 pm

    What does “be able to” mean?

  37. Carl Nemo

    January 31, 2010 at 12:14 am

    Hey are you hittin’ the bottle again logtroll? Drinking fortified wine will do it every time…no? I thought we’d reached some level of rapprochement concerning our differences.

    I’ve replied to your posts in a thoughtful, respectful manner with a bit humor laced in and tonight you launch this “thought dud” against my perimeter.

    In fact I was a major contributor to “Revolution for Dummies”. You’ll see my name in the credits; ie., Carl Nemo along with my bonafides in both symmetric and assymetric warfare. Only Sun Tzu and the works of Von Clausewitz exceed my erudition in understanding the waging of efficient and successful warfare including civil wars.

    It’s suggested you travel to your nearest Barnes & Noble outlet and pick up a copy. Then glue your nose in it. It just might save both you and your loved one’s lives when the balloon goes up. : |

    Carl Nemo **==

    p.s. It’s not General, but Captain to you sailor!

  38. logtroll

    January 31, 2010 at 9:37 am

    But I do hate to adjourn a meeting without having set at least one action item. Thought dud, or no, finding out how to begin a revolution seemed the only action item indicated in your previous post.

    That’s good news about “RFD”, can I get it on my Kindle? Do you recall the ISBN?

    As you are a Cap’n, I’m feeling that any further contributions from me are limited to the basic responses:

    Yes, sir!.
    No,sir!
    Aye, aye, sir!
    No excuse, sir!
    I’ll find out, sir!

    As a civilian, perhaps I’ll add, Good day, sir!

  39. Carl Nemo

    January 31, 2010 at 1:19 pm

    Carry on sailor! : )

    Nemo **==