My late father-in-law, Edward R. Becks, told me that Republicans are like junkies; they don't know the meaning of the word "enough." The desires of a tiny cabal of super-rich reactionaries born in the wake of Teddy Roosevelt's ascent to the presidency in 1901 and energized by the implementation of Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal in 1932, have been realized at last. They've finally gotten what they always wanted and you can be sure that it still won't be enough: On January 21st, 2010, the United States Supreme Court ruled that corporations have unfettered free speech rights in regard to political campaigns.
[The cabal maintained that any expansion of government beyond what it was at the end of President William McKinley's tenure was a perversion of the founder's conception of federal power].
The decision is a catastrophe that has been compared to Dred Scott--the decision that officially deprived black Americans of their constitutional rights. In that case, Chief Justice Roger B. Taney declared that blacks were constitutional ciphers and "had no rights that the white man was bound to respect." The Supreme Court today declared that this country's voters now have no rights that the corporations are bound to respect. America's politicians can now be bought and sold on an open market legitimized by the highest court in this land, The legacy of George W. Bush--The Worst President In United States History--is the gift that keeps on giving.
Corporate money rather than our tax dollars controls governance from now until this nefarious decision is either overturned or we descend into an alarmingly imminent approximation of Mike Judge's prophetical film Idiocracy, wherein corporate America reigns supreme over a riotous clutch of ignoramuses. As Keith Olbermann said last night, it is "government of the people by the corporations for the corporations...it is our Dred Scott!"
We've got to see that it perishes from the earth. Quickly. Otherwise, the United States of America will devolve into a rigged mud-wrestling match with the corporations serving their own interests and the people wondering why everything that they want or need--health care or social security or climate change initiatives or the well-being of the middle class--is "economically infeasible" and why they're covered with mud.
Newt Gingrich said on National Public Radio yesterday that "this is a victory for middle-class political candidates."
Imagine being a Regular Joe presented with the opportunity to secure a coach seat on the Gravy Train by running for virtual sure-fire election to Congress... (you ride in coach because the people in First Class can't stand your stench). You vote the way the people who got you where you are want you to vote. You do and say what you're told. Then--even more nakedly than now--you dance with the ones that brung you.
Citizens United vs. The Federal Election Commission was about a corporation's right to air a hit piece against presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton during the period just before an election. Election laws precluded airing of corporate or party propaganda in the immediate period leading up to a vote. Citizens United sued and took it to the Supreme Court where it blossomed from a narrow dispute about an acerbic anti-Hillary Clinton movie into the replacement of individual Americans in the political process by American Corporations.
The Supreme Court held that speech--corporate money, in their lexicon--can not be constrained.
I can't yell "Fire!" in a crowded theater without expecting consequences.
I can't joke about a bomb or a weapon at any point during an airline flight with impunity.
I can't threaten the life of a member of the federal government.
I can't make terrorist threats.
I can't libel anyone without fear of penalty via due process.
In other words, my speech as a free, responsible citizen of this country is subject to constraint... for excellent reasons.
But--by the very nature of corporate America--those constraints don't apply under the ruling handed down by the Roberts Court on January 21st.
Libel an opposition candidate in an election?
Tough titty. It's a corporation versus an individual. It's a Great Dane versus a chihuahua. The litigation would be over long after the "right" candidate took office. The corporation could fight the case as long as it desired (i.e. when the losing candidate ran out of money).
A corporation buys all the available air time in a market for its preferred candidate?
Not a problem, according to Justice Roberts. It's free speech. The corporation can't be expected to look out for a rube that didn't hook up with a Sugar Daddy.
Corporations can now shout "Fire!" and do so with impunity. They're writing the checks now. Politicians don't prosecute or hold accountable the hand that feeds them.
Corporations can now characterize candidates as dangers to national security or the national well-being. The offended candidate can sue, but their adversary has the deepest pockets on earth,
Hell, the corporations can do pretty much what they want because they've got the money to deal with the negative consequences of any action they might take on behalf of a candidate.
That kind of power buys an awful lot of indulgence. It buys an awful lot of influence. It buys results.
There's a passage in Citizen Kane that comes to mind. Kane's affair with Susan Alexander has been found out by Boss Jim Gettys. Gettys has told Kane's wife and--in a confrontation in Susan's apartment--Kane's wife challenges him to pick between fling and family. Susan--silent for most of the time--wails "What about me?!"
The silence from Kane, his wife, and Gettys speaks more eloquently than any words could have.
Whisper it or shout it...
"What about me?!"
Listen to the wind.