Citizens United and Corporate Political Spending

By James Kwak

Today’s Atlantic column is about corporate political spending in the wake of Citizens United and what, if anything, can be done about it. A group of corporate and securities law professors has petitioned the SEC to write rules requiring companies to disclose their political spending, just like they have to disclose their executive compensation today. As usual, I’m not too optimistic about what disclosure can achieve, especially disclosure in SEC filings or proxy statements: who reads those things, anyway? But it’s better than nothing, and with the current makeup of the Supreme Court, nothing is just about what we’ve got now.

51 responses to “Citizens United and Corporate Political Spending

  1. James writes: “……. with the current makeup of the Supreme Court, nothing is just about what we’ve got now.”

    Whoa, you said it.

    That’s kinda how it works in a fascist system, yes?

    Watching Roberts at his confirmation hearing, who didn’t believe this was someone looking like a beatific lamb, but having cut his bureaucratic-attorney- teeth slavishly devoted to the reactionary policies of Ronald Reagan, wouldn’t be behaving like a hungry shark later on?

    Stare decisis anyone? Now, there’s a good laugh.

    Throw in the other nihilistic right-wing radicals Scalia, Alito, and the nitwit Clarence Thomas, and you’ve got a recipe for DISASTER.

    Foreign money, not a problem. These clowns nailed the coffin….not what I call GOOD AMERICANS!

    They transmogrified something beautiful as “free speech” and they WHORED it down to a filthy dollar.

  2. Some clever democrats (how’s that for an oxymoron!) need to seize the sword of Damocles and trade zeroing out the corporate income tax in exchange for a constitutional amendment stating that corporations are not people and that money is not speech. Seems a trade everyone could get behind.

  3. Actually disclosure is exactly in line with the principals of the 1933 securities act. If the information is there someone will read it, partly to decide which consumer companies to boycott. Once the information is public some blogger will report on it, I would go further and require that companies disclose the results of their final settlements with the IRS, i.e. how close is what is accrued to what is actually paid? I would actually like to see for a public company that the tax forms be made public on the web.

  4. Is any of this stuff machine-readable? I know EDGAR filings are theoretically XML but they’re a bit of a mess from what I recall—something of a chore to concentrate along that axis, and a little bit sensitive material to delegate to anybody you didn’t completely trust.

  5. @ Dorian, some brilliantly cool stuff on your site….the construct of “cells”……wow……….you got it going on.

  6. @ djt, the corporate income tax is observed only in the breach, doncha know? :)

  7. zeroing out means it can’t be negative either!!!

  8. @ djt, don’t get me GOING about net operating losses…lol

  9. @woop – Citizen’s United vs Hillary Clinton – usually, female *whores* don’t use the *law* to take down the good girls…

    Last time *isms* ruled – war is the suspension of CIVIL *law*

    http://www.theatlantic.com/infocus/2011/09/world-war-ii-women-at-war/100145/

    let’s see how well *individual rights* are served when the *individual* is not actually a human being…

    from wiki – criticisms of SCOTUS – “…Failing to protect individual rights. Court decisions have been criticized for failing to protect individual rights: the Dred Scott (1857) decision upheld slavery;[167] Plessy v Ferguson (1896) upheld segregation under the doctrine of separate but equal;[168] Kelo v. City of New London (2005) was criticized by prominent politicians, including New Jersey governor Jon Corzine, as undermining property rights.[169][170] A student criticized a 1988 ruling that allowed school officials “to block publication of a student article in the high school newspaper.”[171] Some critics suggest the 2009 bench with a conservative majority has “become increasingly hostile to voters” by siding with Indiana’s voter identification laws which tend to “disenfranchise large numbers of people without driver’s licenses, especially poor and minority voters”, according to one report.[172] Senator Al Franken criticized the Court for “eroding individual rights.”[145] However, others argue that the Court is too protective of some individual rights, particularly those of people accused of crimes or in detention. For example, Chief Justice Warren Burger was an outspoken critic of the exclusionary rule, and Justice Scalia criticized the Court’s decision in Boumediene v. Bush for being too protective of the rights of Guantanamo detainees, on the grounds that habeas corpus was “limited” to sovereign territory.[173]”

    $$$$ is even the BIGGER player in SCOTUS than in *politics* in 2011.

    When JUSTICE is for sale, you have no HOPE for a civil society. Not sure when and where else the *Supreme* Judiciary of a country was used to launch a war against its own HONEST WORK citizens? Is this the first time in Western Civilization?

    Even the Roman Empire freed a captured-during-war slave after a certain amount of time and labor was racked up….paid their dues, so to speak…

  10. Maybe with disclosure information groups could counter money with boycotts.

  11. @woop

    I love all of the ad hominem attacks and vitriol (e.g. fascist system, slavishly devoted to the reactionary policies, nihilistic right-wing radicals) without any shred of proof or emprical evidence. Must make you feel better about yourself… of course it makes you a complete fool. But alas, I feel that was already well known.

  12. You’re dreaming. Disregard the fantasy that the SEC would ever find the rocks to do any such thing. If it did, the Koch Bros. will sue to overturn the SEC ruling and eventually, SCOTUS will rule that corporations have a “right to privacy” (matching their right to free speech). This will prepare us for the future, when SCOTUS rules that corporations have a right to hold elected office. Have you met Senator Exxon?

    This mess will NOT be fixed in an orderly, bureaucratic way. We are fast approaching the “let them eat cake” moment in America.

  13. @cmk011 – uh, the *proof* and *empirical evidence* is the SCOTUS decision and the point of the article under discussion

    you might want to launch a 24/7 all media channel, psychobabble campaign to CHANGE the meaning of these words – “proof” and “empirical evidence” and “ad hominem” after you’re done with *ponzi*, of course,

    and then get back to providing proof of your bono fides , self-proclaimed, no doubt, for *judging* fools

    Every HUMAN BEING on this planet has the RIGHT to make their lives LESS MISERABLE through HONEST WORK.

    pooof! there go ALL the *isms* and the injustice they institutionalize…sucked up into the DELUSIONAL black hole constructed by the *light* side :-)

  14. Since the Honorable Justice Scalia and the Honorable Justice Alito are both from my hometown of Trenton, New Jersey, I would like to invite them to visit and take a look around to see what *collateral damage* look like when LAWS are unjust.

    My sister-in-law’s best friend’s Grandmother used to babysit Justice Scalia. Hey, its NJ – we all know each other :-) These are NICE women you grew up around – traditional homemakers, big hearts, endless love and sacrifice for family AND friends – what happened to you that made you vote in favor of institutionalizing hatred for women? What did Mrs. Clinton do to YOU, personally? Sell you inflated price land?

    As for Justice Alito – he was born with a cold heart and over-sized ambition. His use of *power* to embed people’s faces in the ground under his shoe is not sexist – he’ll do it to men and women alike. Of course, knocking down women can be done easier with the velvet glove of the *law*.

    The Institution of Justice is symbolic. It stands because We The People stood it up as proof that there is a Sovereign Power that watches over the welfare – mind, body and soul – of the INDIVIDUAL HUMAN BEING.

    When that Institution – entrusted with that sacred duty – FAILS, and worse, launches a WAR against the dignity and rights of the INDIVIDUAL, We the People have a DUTY to be disobedient to those *lasw* erected to HURT HONEST LABOR.

    Yes, my friends and foes, this is an EPIC time. No more brutal censorship of *annie’s* First Amendment rights to FREE SPEECH.

    I’ll fight for it – all in.

  15. Stated in the Atlantic column: “The Securities Exchange Act of 1934 authorizes the SEC to write regulations that are “necessary or appropriate in the public interest or for the protection of investors.” There is a strong argument that mandatory disclosure is in the public interest, since it helps voters know who is paying for the attack ads they see on TV. ”

    If we should be allowed to dream that the SEC ever does something in the public interest, why not dream that their regulation would not allow corporations to spend money for political purposes? At least at one time, corporate charters could be withdrawn if they were harming the public. Restricting their political activity seems less of an action.

  16. I’m not sure what Mitt Romney meant when he said “Corporation’s Are People Too”, but if he were smart, he’d better find a way to retract that statement, Pronto!
    A Corporation is an entity, period! Its body is made up of shareholders/ management that aren’t individuals, but rather a “For-Profit-Enterprise” in which all reasonable non-compliant’s give up their rights to said entity with a divorced decree as is unambiguously spoken in “Separation of State, Church, Individual Freedom’s”?
    They are not people, but venture capitalist [?], all to willing too make a bet on their said organizational entity, prostrating their sole (soul) voice to said management, and not as individual citizens. Now,… aren’t
    China, North Korea, (Russia) et.el. Corporation’s,…? Are we now following in their footsteps?

    Note: Soon to be “Two Hegemony’s”, and as the world turns, China will be the last lender standing – for shame America,… for shame!

    Question: Has our country turned “Communist”? Afterall, all our voting rights (gerrymandering/ rigged ballot boxes, etc., etc.,),… the same candidates remain cradle to (no term limits) grave with family (nepotism/ cronyism, etc.) members filling the voids,.. czar’s, and committees of twelve (Russian Roulette[?]), unfunded/ unnecessary wars,… FRB that answers to no one ,… a Bernanke,Greenspan, etc., never to be voted into public office,…habeas corpus married to the Patriot Act within the confines of cohabitation forever under the guardianship of a rigged court? These are just a few questions that led up to our obvious destiny,… bur ironically, was it not for the “19″ nutjobs,… that we are now spreading the icing on the cake???
    Answers please,…

    Thankyou James

    God Bless You, Julian Assange :-))

  17. @earle – I followed your link – help me out here – read this from the site:

    “Commercial speech, such as advertisments, has been ruled by the Supreme Court to be entitled to less protection under the First Amendment than noncommerical speech. Under the First Amendment, noncommercial speech is entitled to full protection, and any sort of content-based regulation is only valid if it can withstand strict scrutiny. However, noncommerical speech is not given such deference. For a content-based regulation of commercial speech to be valid, it only must withstand intermediate scrutiny.”

    The sentence – “However, noncommerical speech is not given such deference.”

    Shouldn’t this be *commercial* speech not being given the deference that noncommercial speech is given…?

  18. @ Annie
    Indeed, a well placed,… deliberate typo? You be the Judge ;-))

    Ref: The 1st, 5th, and 14th Amendments @ regarding “Commercial Speech”

    “Corporations and Bill of Rights – Carl Mayer: Reclaiming Democracy” (Google if link fails, as usual?)
    http://www.reclaimdemocracy.org/personhood/mayer_personalizing.html

    Note: Scroll down to *243___California Banker’s Association v. Schultz ___ 416 US. 21,65,67 (1974)
    Lot’s of nice subjective data, reading

    Thankyou James and Simon *Great Post*

  19. @earle

    Well done typo, Ivy League!

    So it looks like you CAN *legislate* COMMERCIAL morality when a *thing* is granted Personhood! Huh, go figure…

    Next up – Statehood Corp privatization – Brooklyn Bridge for sale and choice real estate in Athens – Putin pulled out some booty from the Grecian waters and took it home to get assessed at the Russian version of “Antiques Roadshow”.

    Check out CNBC list of richest, *elected* Congress peeps – slum lords for the bottom half, *ism* launchers on the top half…

    There’s no TRUTH to Mitt’s dogma – “….only 144,000 make it to the Mansion Worlds….” although he made a good whack at being one with Bain and *downsizing* process…

    What’s the techno version to replace the phrase – “Canary in a Coal Mine”?

  20. Note: Soon to be “Two Hegemony’s”, and as the world turns, China will be the last lender standing – for shame America,… for shame

    Well lets see now, with the execption of dipping their hands into the Itialian bond mkt, and if the us national debt clock statistics can be believed. Of the $54.9 trillion total U.S. debt, only $4.46 trillion is owed to foreign countries, that means the rest (92%) is held by domestic individuals in some way shape or form.

  21. http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=891_1235624632&comments=1

    Click the link if you want to see the Greek debt -vs- the French and German banks. The debt shows itself at the last moment, the truck represents the banks. The meeting was today.

  22. Many of you commenting here would do well to actually read what the Supreme Court said before commenting on it. The Supreme Court did not declare that corporations are people. It did recognize that corporations are composed of many individual people. The owners (stockholders) are people. The workers are people. That fact that many people have banded together does not strip them of their rights. As the Court stated: “If the First Amendment has any force, it prohibits Congress from fining or jailing citizens, or associations of citizens, for simply engaging in political speech.”

    With regards to stare decisis, the law of the land, until 1990, had been that the people comprising a corporation did not give up their free speech rights simply b/c they banded together as a corporation. The Supreme court affirmed this in 1963, in NAACP v Button and again in 1978 in First National Bank of Boston v Bellotti. It was the 1990 case, Austin v Michigan Chamber of Commerce, that ignored precedent. In the Citizens United decision, the Court simply returned to what had been a century of jurisprudence.

    It also wouldn’t hurt to engage in a little independent thinking. The Citizens United decision means that people with shallow pockets can band together to oppose one with deeper pockets. Had the Court upheld that provision of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA), a wealthy individual could buy TV time to campaign for a new law, or for a favored candidate, while those of lesser means could be barred from pooling money to do the same thing.

    Citizens United – http://www.law.cornell.edu/supremecourt/text/08-205/#writing-ZS
    NAACP v Button – http://www.law.cornell.edu/supremecourt//text/371/415
    FNBB v Bellotti – http://www.law.cornell.edu/supremecourt//text/435/765
    Austin – http://www.law.cornell.edu/supremecourt//text/494/652

  23. The Citizens United decision doesn’t mean people with shallow pockets can unite in opposing monied interests; the notion of this is an absurd twisting of reality. People with shallow pocket are barely hanging on, and you’re arguing there are funds available to make a TV buy? Are the 45 million people on food assistance and the umpteen millions unemployed or under-employed going to see themselves clear to donate fifty bucks? This makes no sense.

    What planet would this happen on? It won’t be happening here, I can assure you.

    And let’s say some truly enterprising progressive, grass roots organization did manage to scrape something together. Do you really believe the Koch brothers and other billionaires would have the slightest difficulty swamping whatever counter-message citizen groups could bring about? How about Jaime Dimon at Citi, and the other ZOMBIE banks? How about the two trillion in cash these corps are sitting on?

    No, sorry, What Citizens United really does is to propel the right wing’s fascist agenda down the road at high speed. This isn’t about ideology, incidentally, it’s about an under-current that is ruining the United States.

    That’s all it is, and no amount of specious legalese and hair-splitting distractions removes its’ central tenets.

    I Say no to this *corporatism* because it’s unhealthy and destructive.

  24. @bigD

    1. Take a look again at that commercial that started all this. It’s crap and it was directed against an INDIVIDUAL. I’ll leave the sarcastic analogy of a *gang* alone – for now – although it would take the air out of your balloon quickly.

    2. The INDIVIDUAL always had more rights – alone, as a single voice, single vote. So what you lose or gain as an individual joining a *gang* to go up against an INDIVIDUAL candidate is wide open for interpretation, isn’t it? All you are arguing FOR, as a *gang* (even a Rand gang – oxymoronic, no?), is the dogma “….in the beginning there was *MONEY* and then came Life….”

    Bottom line, the differences are EPIC, not merely dysfunctional. It matters what place we Human Beings places ourselves at as a species, and being monkey brains with imagination, let’s hope it isn’t as a *god* based on how much $$$ we managed to STEAL (lie and murder) from those who do honest work.

    You didn’t imagine, design and build the Brooklyn Bridge. It’s not yours to sell, and I don’t care how big your *gang* is that argues for *privatizing* it ALL.

  25. Who controlled the courts in 1990? (Stacking the Courts!)
    What has stare decisis to do with with today’s reality that we live in the “Nuclear Age”, and there are no more horse and buggies to whip to death?
    Setting precedence from a century ago and tweaking it every score[?] to be settled as a asterisks make for terrible laws, period!
    What defines a Monopoly, Interstate Jurisdiction, Individuality, Droid / Android, or a Bionic Man are the evolutionary attributes of time, and place?
    Romney says Corporations are people too, was an answer he gave back as a rebuttal at a fund raiser that didn’t go over very well. Perhaps when the “GOP” holds its next fiesta, the hard questions should be answered. What say you!
    The whole premise of modern laws are baked into old flawed and archaic reasoning of the 18th, 19th, and lame 20th Century, where slavery still hasn’t been put to bed?
    Common Sense tells me that a entity is not a living breathing humanoid,… but Corporations solidify my belief that we put our trust in an entity made of colorful printed ink impressed upon linen that has no toiletry function but burning dreams of reason!
    Perhaps we should start prostrating ourselves to the almighty Eye-Phones and its ability to see, hear, and speak as a GOD?

  26. @ Annie, you’re correct about the bridge.

    One good turn deserves another, so here goes:

    http://www.americanmanufacturing.org/blog/building-brooklyn-bridge-look-back-19th-century-american-ingenuity

  27. @woop

    So if Rethug NIHILISTS privatize the Bridge (buy it with gold? and who gets the gold? a Patriot Act planted councilman?), it’s as good as blowing it up.

    No PROFIT – even with slave labor – in maintaining it. The landlord will pocket the $15 he charges people to go across it until it falls down.

    BTW, until the bridge falls down from *normal use*, the landlord will pay a couple of computer goons to manufacture *data* that maintenance was done, but it fell down anyway because the Bridge – or Brooklyn Bridge LLC by then – did not modernize itself with technology.

    Popping in “You Can’t Take It With You” video. A classic movie memoralizing where USA citizens’ heads were at – morally and socially – the last time a heist was pulled on them by their era’s banksters.

    300 million people on this much good green earth, in a sovereign nation of We the People LAW would not be producing the highest levels of poverty ever recorded if FRAUD was not operating at catastrophic levels.

    Newly minted Billionaires need to be rounded up and told to empty out their pockets. Yup, there’s only LINT in there – that’s it :-)

  28. @ bigD

    Ref: List of Supreme Court Justices,… please note that from #97 – #112 most justices were republican appointees {(Pro-Business)(Anti-Union/ Collective Bargaining)}
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Justices_of_the_Supreme_of_the_United_States

    What we have here today is a “1984″ episodic adventure brought about by 1st Gen Reality TV, by way of a redux Oceanic Ingsoc? Better said – that of a dichotomous deity,… a Dual-Oligarchical Collectivism bathed in a Syncretic rhetorical excrement that only the proletariat could swallow!

    Ref. reading: “Packing The Court” by James MacGregor Burns c.2009
    “Rehnquist”, A Personal Portrait of the Distinguished Chief Justice of the United States by Herman J. Obermayer c.2009 (Note: This is why were in the fix were in today,…imo)

  29. @ bigD

    Ref: List of Supreme Court Justices,… please note that from #97 – #112 most justices were republican appointees {(Pro-Business)(Anti-Union/ Collective Bargaining)}
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Justices_Court_of_the_Supreme_of_the_United_States

    What we have here today is a “1984″ episodic adventure brought about by 1st Gen Reality TV, by way of a redux Oceanic Ingsoc? Better said – that of a dichotomous deity,… a Dual-Oligarchical Collectivism bathed in a Syncretic rhetorical excrement that only the proletariat could swallow!

    Ref. reading: “Packing The Court” by James MacGregor Burns c.2009
    “Rehnquist”, A Personal Portrait of the Distinguished Chief Justice of the United States by Herman J. Obermayer c.2009 (Note: This is why were in the fix were in today,…imo)

  30. @annie

    I won’t bother addressing every point in your largely incoherent rant. But I will address three main points:

    1) “the *proof* and *empirical evidence* is the SCOTUS decision and the point of the article under discussion.” Really? I was referring to woop’s use of the terms “fascist system”, “slavishly devoted to the reactionary policies” and “nihilistic right-wing radicals”. How do you go from that to saying the proof is in the decision (which I doubt many here have actually read), etc. I mean, really? Is that how you debate/argue? Just throw out nonsense and subterfuge hoping no one notices. Wow!

    2) As for “Every HUMAN BEING on this planet has the RIGHT to make their lives LESS MISERABLE through HONEST WORK.” While I will not get into whether I agree or not with your assertion (as that itself is irrelevant), can you help me understand where that “right” is derived from? I fully understand where other common “rights” are derived from? But I must admit I struggle to understand where that “right” is derived from? Is it derived from your god? Your goverment? Your personal belief? Or are you just spouting some nonsense that you think sounds good in your idealistic and (incredibly) naive world view? Please help me to understand why you believe that you and every other person is entitled to THAT right (versus any other random right that any other random person “thinks” they should be entitled to).

    3) “…and then get back to providing proof of your bono fides , self-proclaimed, no doubt, for *judging* fools”. Fair point. For the judging of fools, I humbly refer to a quote attributed to Mark Twain. The quote is, “It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt”. I, unlike @woop, was not the one throwing rhetorical bombs (as identified above). So, from that point of view the onus is on woop to support his accusations and ad hominem attacks. Not me. But as for my bono fides… well I do not profess to be anything other than a student who is trying to push himself and expand his mind. I have been lucky to do that at some great institutions such as London Business School, MIT, etc. and under some great professors such as Simon Johnson – which is how I found this sight.

    So the (proverbial) ball is in your court. If you choose to intelligently repsond, great. I am always open to hearing points of view and thinking critically through issues. But, if you are going to simply not argue the facts… but instead name call, make hyper partisan comments and remove all doubt of whether you are a fool or not. Please do yourself a favor and show some restraint.

  31. @cmk011

    2) As for “Every HUMAN BEING on this planet has the RIGHT to make their lives LESS MISERABLE through HONEST WORK.” While I will not get into whether I agree or not with your assertion (as that itself is irrelevant), can you help me understand where that “right” is derived from? I fully understand where other common “rights” are derived from? But I must admit I struggle to understand where that “right” is derived from? Is it derived from your god? Your goverment? Your personal belief? Or are you just spouting some nonsense that you think sounds good in your idealistic and (incredibly) naive world view? Please help me to understand why you believe that you and every other person is entitled to THAT right (versus any other random right that any other random person “thinks” they should be entitled to).

    Simple – it’s because I can make my life less miserable through honest work. Like, duh.

    I do not need anyone’s permission to be kind, generous, merciful, honest, creative, etc. If you are suggesting that I need a snot nose hooligan from London telling me that I need his permission to do whatever the hell I want, just like you do whatever the hell you want when it comes to THEFT, then you are the one who is delusional and ranting.

    What a joke your education is!

  32. @bigD

    Woop has it exactly right. Corporations are not “citizen cooperatives” by any reasonable stretch of the imagination. They have persistence beyond the lives of the current stockholders, there are oligarchs (Boards of Directors) charged with fiduciary duties to those stockholders. The stockholders (unlike contributors to a PAC) have not willingly pooled their money for a political purpose.

    Most critically, under Citizens United there is no requirement that the stockholders must be INFORMED or have the right to VOTE on corporate political contributions. Thus, it is reasonable to infer that spending stockholders’ equity on political contributions MAY be a breach of fiduciary duty; whether or not it is in fact such a breach can only be determined if stockholders have NOTICE and right to VOTE approval/disapproval.

    Your sophistry can’t conceal the radicalism of the current SCOTUS.

  33. @woop- So you are arguing that b/c the homeless cannot pool enough money to outspend the Buffets & Gates of the world, that right should be denied to everyone. You would also bar middle class persons from associating to oppose a local millionaire.

    Furthermore, while you rant about the Koch brothers, you seem to miss the fact that they even before the Citizens United decision, they could spend without limit. Hillary, The Movie (HTM) ran afoul of the BCRA only b/c it was funded by an incorporated group. Had it been funded by the Koch brothers, there would have been no problems with the BCRA.

    @Annie- You are arguing that speech now be regulated based on content! That is precisely what the free speech clause of the 1st amendment was intended to prohibit. You get no argument from me regarding the lack of virtues of HTM, but keep in mind that the BCRA provision applied not only conservative crap, but also to liberal treasures. As I mentioned above, it did not apply to an individual, but only to those who decided to band together under incorporation.

    @Earle- I mentioned stare decisis b/c Woop, in the first comment, seemed under the impression that the Citizens United decision ignored it.

    With respect to your “court stacking,” note that although appointed by republican presidents, Warren Burger, Harry Blackmun, John Paul Stevens and David Souter were all liberal justices (Pres. Nixon even appointed Burger as Chief Justice!). Considering the current court, four of the justices (Ginsberg, Breyer, Sotomayor and Kagen) are liberal justices, and Kennedy is a swing vote, siding with the liberal wing as often as with the conservative wing. That would make the court fairly balanced.

    Finally, rather than get mired in theories of court stacking, wouldn’t our time be better spent discussing the merits of the case? Should the government be able to bar individuals from electioneering simply b/c they have chosen to band together to pool their resources?

  34. @bigD – “@Annie- You are arguing that speech now be regulated based on content!”

    oh get down off your holier than thou soapbox – I was making the observation that it was such CRAP that it wasn’t WORTHY of going to SCOTUS to defend!! My taxes went to defending that crap which means I ALSO have First Amendment rights to say it was CRAP.

    And I applaud the decision to use USA’s major industrial exports to turn back the sub-Saharan mercenaries who were coming to the streets of Libyan cities – good for you, Hillary, for voting to preventing that slaughter – a sub-human act humanity evolved beyond for at least half a million years!

    You stand up when she enters the room – the woman deserves respect – not SCOTUS being petty and vindictive and reactionary.

    When Western Civilization gets this dark, morally and socially, review history for who saves the LIGHT.

  35. I think the Open Secrets website might be interested in having access to these corporate disclosures.

    http://www.opensecrets.org/

  36. @ bigD

    Your absolutely correct :-) kind Sir!

    Here comes the big, “But” (laughing) ,… it is the Chief Justices (CJ) that bother me – Rehnquist /Roberts *{Ultra/Ultra Conservatives)* — William H. Rehnquist was nominated by Nixon (1972/1986) and it was Reagan (George H.W. Bush VP recommendation? #41/ President) that nominated him CJ (1986/ 2005 – 20yrs.) until his death, while still on the bench [note: Rehnquist was a walking dead man, but refused to resign for health reason [?why?] — John G. Roberts Jr. was nominated by George W. Bush (#43) through the encouragement of Dick Cheney VP in 2005 to present — that’s a cumulative total of ~ 26 yrs of pure conservatism running the roost?

    PS. The Cheney guy actually wanted Harriet Miers (remember her?), but they had to settle for second best,… the ultra-conservative Samuel Alito ;-))

    Thankyou, James and Simon

  37. @ annie,

    I see you chose to not show self restraint. Sigh! Let’s set aside the issue of “making life less miserable through honest work” because clearly you missed the point of my question. Fair enough. Maybe I did a poor job of articulating or maybe reading comprehension is not your strong suit. Either way, let’s move on.

    Alas, I do find it funny how you have let your prejudices and personal bias show so vividly. Specifically, I am referring to this, “…If you are suggesting that I need a snot nose hooligan from London telling me that I need his permission to do whatever the hell I want, just like you do whatever the hell you want when it comes to THEFT, then you are the one who is delusional and ranting. What a joke your education is!”

    Outside of the clear and apparent anger issues you have. I must say, you sure are one to jump to conclusions. I wonder if this is a need to reinforce your prejudices? Make the world fit your predefined narrative? What I’m not sure? To be clear, I am a) not a snot nosed hooligan. Actually, I am American – born and raised. Oh and quite proud of it to be very frank. b) I have no idea what you are talking about with your “THEFT” reference. To the best of my knowledge, I have never been accused nor convicted of theft of any kind – Thank you very much. And c) I have been called lots of things… but delusional and ranting – never. I appreciate you may think my education is a joke… I think many would disagree with you. But each person has an opinion.

    I would like to point out how you have yet to argue a single point factually. All you seem to do is throw around ad hominem attacks and accuse other people. Yet, I would wager you are likely one of those people who wrings their hands at how dumb, uneducated and misinformed the “other side is”. You also probably worry about the level of discourse and think the “other side” is nothing but angry fools. Well, to that I say… “Pot, meet Kettle.”

  38. Singing Around the Campfire

    I just hope Pa Kettle didn’t have to cough-up the money to send you to school, cmk 9000, because the results are pretty discouraging.

  39. I’m glad that Woop had the first word in response to James Kwak’s post. And it was also the best. Thank you, Woop.

    To Mr. Kwak: It’s a long string of “better than nothing’s” that have brought us to where we are now. “Better than nothing” will not lead us out.

  40. A liberal advocating silencing someone b/c she doesn’t like what they say – how ironic.
    Advocating the silencing of all groups b/c she doesn’t like the spewings of one – how myopic.

  41. @bigD

    Honestly, I have NO CLUE what you mean when you call me a *liberal* – what is today’s definition of that word? Do you know what a thesaurus is? Want to try and use one? And then further, how about I perform the mini mental exam on you to check if YOU have any grounding in reality?

    Among many other deep underground rivers of clear waters running through Western Civilization, the stories we tell each other about our heroes are perhaps worth EDUCATING yourself about. Since the vast majority of the population in USA is under 50 years old, why not start with something simple – something uniquely texasonian (Wild West) – the TV series called “Cheyenne”….? Was Mr. Brody a liberal? Was he a conservative? Was he an Independent – which I believe is the largest political party in USA – and the only one without representation – go figure…?

    At any rate, the TV show character does a lot of on-your-feet problem solving :-) that NO ONE in the financial world is capable of doing.

    You guys are really something else. Insulting beyond belief, that’s why I am completely detached from considering anything you have to say – maggots can’t comment on the life of a dolphin.

    And your *financial instruments* are proof enough of that.

    If you turned Obambi into a Prez place card for the global maggot-wizards behind the curtain, shouldn’t it be easy to turn another texas chain-saw massacre candidate into the illusion of a *cheyenne brody*….?

  42. @cmk011

    You so LOST the argument and have proven yourself to be a sore loser. What next? Gonna run to SCOTUS to throw enough words out to turn you into a winner?

    People DO make their lives less miserable through honest work. FIAT $$$, especially, was established to facilitate human life-maintenance activity.

  43. This is a point that SCOTUS should examine in their secret deliberations – did RELIGIONISTS with crazy end time beliefs – silence the voices of thousands of true HEROES (USA exceptionalism in a nutshell – we are incapable of worshiping a Stalin or Hitler) in the lead up to the invasion of Iraq?

    WHY was that *conversation* never had? Why did our HEROES not have First Amendment protection from the court in the lead up to a WAR?

  44. Jimmy Carter, a morally-sound, decent, man…on CITIZENS UNITED ruling:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/16/jimmy-carter-election-2012-citizens-united-supreme-court_n_966274.html

    @ Carla, I had been thinking about you, because I hadn’t seen you post here for a time…..anyway, always good seeing you put ideas to “ink” here, and thanks for your kind words. :)

  45. @ Annie, you realize that you are FENCING WITH UNARMED OPPONENTS, yes? :)

  46. @woop – their delusional re-writes coming back at them. That’s fair.

    C’mon, Woop, they committed brutal censorship to silence the debate about whether to put a multi-trillion $$$$ WAR on our children’s credit card and now they DARE to ask for First Amendment rights over and above the HUMAN BEING and SCOTUS gives it to them?

    Who ARE these people?

  47. My dear old dad, Richard Kitchen, had a name, Annie, for people like our friends here…..”knuckleheads”….yeah, there it is! :)