Welcome to the United States of Corporate America

From Howard Fineman at Newsweek:

I rarely attend a Supreme Court argument, but I did last fall for a “rehearing” of the campaign-spending case. […] The most vivid image I saw was the red-faced Chief Justice John Roberts, veins popping on his neck as he vibrated with disgust at the idea that government could limit what a corporate entity could do or say in the political arena.

The 5–4 opinion issued Thursday by the Roberts Court—written by swing voter Anthony Kennedy—was even more sweeping than I had imagined and predicted.

In light of the new ruling, the Senate has already started redecorating.

Original image

It’s nothing short of revolutionary. Here’s how I add up the possible consequences:

  • It adds to Republican chances of pickups in red states with small, cheap media markets.
  • It turns the cottage industry of campaign consulting into a Hollywood-lucrative major media sector.
  • It reduces candidates and political parties to mere appendages in their own campaigns.
  • It will turn corporate boardrooms into political cockfighting pits, since that is where the key decisions will be made.
  • It gives President Obama a populist issue, if he has the cojones and imagination and sense of injustice to take it on.
  • It rips the veil of “conservatism” from this court, which just rendered one of the most wildly “activist” opinions in decades. It makes a mockery of the legal theory of “original intent.” The Founders would be rolling over in their graves.

The redecoration of the Senate chamber has begun!

From The Washington Post (editorial):

FOR MORE THAN a century, Congress has recognized the danger of letting corporations use their wealth to wield undue influence in political campaigns. The Supreme Court had upheld these efforts. But Thursday, making a mockery of some justices’ pretensions to judicial restraint, the Supreme Court unnecessarily and wrongly ruled 5 to 4 that the constitutional guarantee of free speech means that corporations can spend unlimited sums to help elect favored candidates or defeat those they oppose. This, as the dissenting justices wrote, “threatens to undermine the integrity of elected institutions across the nation.”

This result was unnecessary because the court’s conservative majority — including supposed exemplars of judicial modesty — lunged to make a broad constitutional ruling when narrower grounds were available. It was wrong because nothing in the First Amendment dictates that corporations must be treated identically to people. And it was dangerous because corporate money, never lacking in the American political process, may now overwhelm both the contributions of individuals and the faith they may harbor in their democracy.

The majority found its pretext in the documentary “Hillary: The Movie,” produced by a conservative group called Citizens United and released during the 2008 primaries.

Citizens United wanted to their feature-length Hillary hatin’ movie available on cable TV as a video-on-demand. It was argued that a provision of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law prohibited that, but the Supremes didn’t just rule on that. Nope….

Instead, the court’s five-member majority went much further. It overruled a 1990 decision that upheld a state law prohibiting independent corporate expenditures in political campaigns. It overruled its own 2003 decision upholding the same provision of McCain-Feingold that it struck down Thursday — so much for respect for precedent.


But the conclusion that corporations have free-speech protections — and they do — does not mandate that they be treated identically to actual persons. Corporations and labor unions, which by implication now also will be free to spend without limit, have not been “censored” or “banned” from engaging in political speech, as the court claimed; rather, they have been required to spend through political action committees, which raise money in limited amounts from employees and members. Reasonable limits on their electoral spending recognized what is obvious to anyone who has not gone to law school: There is a difference between a corporate person and a real person.

President Obama said Thursday that he wants a “forceful response” to the ruling. That will not be easy, given its grounding in the Constitution. The decision invalidates state laws restricting corporate spending, which exist in nearly half the states.  […]  [T]he damage of Thursday’s ruling, under the false flag of free speech, will not be easily repaired.

And remember, if you shop early…

So, kids, if you hate democracy, shout out a big thank-you to the following robe-wearing shitbags: Anthony Kennedy, John Roberts, Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia, and Samuel Alito.

UPDATE: I goofed, kids, and updated the diary. Citizens United and Citizens United Not Timid are 2 separate entities. Citizens United was the group that had the case before the Supreme Court and is headed by long-time Clinton-hater, David Bossie. Citizens United Not Timid is headed by Roger Stone, a long-time Rethug dirty trickster. Sorry for the error. It was entirely my fault. 😳


Filed under 2008 election, Anthony Kennedy, Antonin Scalia, Barack Obama, Clarence Thomas, Congress, Constitution, Corporate greed, Corruption, First Amendment, Hillary Clinton, humor, John Roberts, parody, politics, Republicans, Samuel Alito, Senate, snark, Supreme Court, Wordpress Political Blogs

32 responses to “Welcome to the United States of Corporate America

  1. writechic

    Blagojevich is off the hook. He was just a man ahead of his time by about a year.

    I thought a naked senator was nauseating. I thought thinking about a defense of the Senate health care reform bill was sickening. This is devastating. Part of me thinks, the fucking nerve it took on the part of the not-so Supremes. The other part…Brave New World, Year of Our Ford.

    I wonder if right-wingers could be brought around to opposing this if say your brilliant picture was the inside of their church.

    Naw, they probably see a logo for their own church in one of the “elected” positions.

    • many people are making the important point that so many corporations are not owned by americans. are the teabaggers gonna love the fact that their elected officials might soon be picked by china or ~sharp intake of breath~ arabs? 😯 the ramifications of this are just stunning. from the center for public integrity:

      What about foreign companies that operate U.S. subsidiaries? Many of these, like American businesses, are owned by ordinary shareholders — but a host of others are owned, in whole or in part, by the foreign governments themselves.

      One prominent examples is CITGO Petroleum Company — once the American-born Cities Services Company, but purchased in 1990 by the Venezuelan government-owned Petróleos de Venezuela S.A. The Citizens United ruling could conceivably allow Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who has sharply criticized both of the past two U.S. presidents, to spend government funds to defeat an American political candidate, just by having CITGO buy TV ads bashing his target.

      And it’s not just Chavez. The Saudi government owns Houston’s Saudi Refining Company and half of Motiva Enterprises. Lenovo, which bought IBM’s PC assets in 2004, is partially owned by the Chinese government’s Chinese Academy of Sciences. And Singapore’s APL Limited operates several U.S. port operations. A weakening of the limit on corporate giving could mean China, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and any other country that owns companies that operate in the U.S. could also have significant sway in American electioneering.

  2. That was a brilliant illustration, baby Nonnie.
    And thanks for posting that pic of Sarah Palin in her Little House on the Prairie curls. It inspired me to do a whole post about it.

    • thanks, baby zippy! 😉 it took me hours to do that pain in the ass pic.

      i was hoping you’d do a post about princess’s new do. 🙂 i’ll be right over!

  3. From now on, I assume that everything will be named like sporting arenas and events.

    The next Sigarms New Hampshire primary to choose the candidates to run for the Comcast Senate seat, for example …

    • the corporate logos on the candidates’ podia during presidential debates are gonna be wicked cool! not to mention the product placement. i bet they all drink cokes out of huge glasses with the logo on the side as they pepper their answers with their biggest contributors’ product names.

  4. GreenApples

    Great work nonnie,

    “Corporations have been enthroned, an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money-power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until the wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed.” — Abraham Lincoln

  5. I notice you have Monsanto front and center. Good place for them. Did you know that Clarence Thomas was a Monsanto attorney during the late 1970s? And that one of the relatively few decisions he wrote was one that allowed genes to be patented, which enabled Monsanto to establish itself as the leader in genetically modified crops?

    • monsanto was one of the last ones i stuck on there. i was working from a list on open secrets of the biggest corporate campaign donors. there were a few that weren’t on there–monsanto and newscorp, for example–but i thought they deserved mention. i didn’t know that about old clarence, but it doesn’t surprise me a bit.

  6. Lets make it easy for the voters. While reading the archives the other night, the wise Nonnie mentioned something I had been thinking about quite a while. Dress them up in a NASCAR racing firesuit! You can just glance and know Kyle is sponsered by M&Ms or Tony with Office Depot. Which insurance giant would sponser Lieberman? Exxon could buy 10-15 at a time! The Arab investors could have their bought lackeys wear the crescent! Evil Rupert could, oh wait, he already has the starting grid on payroll.

  7. I’m confused.

    Not sure if we should just shred the Constitution,
    or simply revise the words to:

    “We the Corporations”

    For the Corporations….. BUY the Politicians

    • i think we should wait and ask our corporate overlords what we should do with it. that is, if they speak english.

      • Did you like by word play here?

        BUY the politicians.

        Hell, if we thought it was bad when they were pretending to work on health care reform (the money flowing there by the millions)…. now the floodgates are open!

        Bought & sold in broad daylight.


        I am on the edge of throwing in the towel.

  8. maryyooch

    I don’t think Thomas Jefferson had this in mind when he was helping to draft the Constitution.

    I don’t even understand how this CAN be constitutional. Doesn’t this unGodly decision give certain people the chance to vote twice?
    They should have made the law about Public Campaign Finance. It would have been worth all the money in the world.

    • not only does it give certain people the right to vote more than once, but it allows them to do it using other people’s money. if you own shares in a company, your money might be going to support a candidate or a cause that you are completely opposed to.