You are not at all alone in being frightened and appalled.
I imagine the 'pro' argument from the Teabaggers will be that it's still the people who ultimately vote a candidate in or out.
However, most voters are swayed by a good ad campaign, regardless of how fact-free (e.g.; the effective destruction of health reform thanks to the selling of fairy tales to the public like death panels and 'option' meaning 'mandatory monopoly').
Money determines how much airtime that candidate gets and what kind of sales pitch goes out to the people about that candidate.
Corporations are the richest entities in America, therefore now have the power to buy the vast majority of sales pitch and airtime.
Big money corporations almost always support the Republican (or possibly now, Teabag) party, as this is the party that takes from the poor to give to the rich.
Ergo, I do not think it's an exaggeration to say this could be the beginning of the end of true democracy in America. The only way this would be overturned is if we get a less conservative supreme court. That will only happen if we continue to elect the occasional Democrat president. I would not be surprised if that never happens again for the reasons stated above.
And the sickening thing is that it will be touted as the Democrat party/ideas are simply unpopular with the public. No, it's that the public will only be hearing one side of the story.
The only way this would be overturned is if we get a less conservative supreme court.
I agree that would be the way to overturn the decision, but that isn't the solution. Another change on the court and we'd be right back where we are. I think the decision is a disaster for democracy, but I also believe they are interpreting the constitution correctly. The authors of our constitution could not imagine the power of today's media and corporations. In their day there was only the written and spoken word, and the written word was only slightly more powerful than the spoken word. The solution is not a liberal or conservative court, it is an amendment to the constitution.
Isn't it courious that RightWingNuts think its lunacy to tax corporations because 'only people pay taxes' but those same corporations have the 'right' now to have more direct unlimited input into the politial system than a single citizen every could. With that kind of money to play with they could by up every TV add for a state election for the 30 prior to an election and deny their shills oponent access to advertising.
That is curious. Is it the case then that a member of a corporation can personally contribute to a campaign, the corporation can contribute directly to the campaign and the person can vote? If this holds, it could be a game changer. In order to make a personal change that would have any real effect, I would have to be personally wealthy enough to contribute myself AND join a corporation that is willing to put up money to battle the candidate that I oppose! This definitely seems like a no-win scenario. I also find it curious that so many of the incredibly poor are also strongly conservative. I know that it is for ideological reasons, but it is sad.
I also find it curious that so many of the incredibly poor are also strongly conservative. I know that it is for ideological reasons, but it is sad.
Extremely sad. Kind of a self-hate maybe?
Like Dan DuPree said, the RightWingNuts that bitch about having to pay taxes, don't think the billion-dollar corporations should have to pay taxes. "No no, let little poverty-line me pick up that tab. We're so good and moral and Christian and all about our Jesus who was all about helping the needy, but heaven forbid we help our own needy with affordable health care."
They bitch about the deficit when it is Republican presidents who have done far more raising of the debt than Democrat. They bitch that we need to ID and cavity check everyone everywhere looking for illegals and terrorists, but bitch when they themselves get ID'd and checked.
Their number one cause is personal freedom; "Get the government out of my personal business." Yet little complaint when Bush started warrantless wiretapping. No problem telling two consenting adults they can't marry. Telling a woman what she can and can't do with her uterus. Injecting their religion into public schools and buildings.
Sorry - a bit fed up with Teabaggers at the moment.
The first amendment to the US constitution states: "Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech."
In the 1970s the Supreme Court, ruling on a different matter, decided that public speech frequently require the expenditure of money and therefor the state could not restrict spending for the purpose of limiting speech.
Last week's decision by the Supremes was an alignment of law, in view of that 1970s decision.
Most people seem to believe this is likely to result in major undesirable consequences. There are (at least) several possible means of correction. Perhaps the best method would be for Congress to pass another amendment that better defines the roles and rights of actual citizens, actual non-citizens, and legal entities such as corporations. Of course changing the constitution is purposely a very difficult task, yet not so difficult that it has not been accomplished many times.
Ideally, it is the courts job to rule on matters of law, and the legislature's job to make law. Often events develop where many believe the 200+ year old Constitution is inadequate. It can be changed - but not by the courts.
Another possible means of correcting this perceived problem would be to bring another case before the Supreme Court that causes it to revisit its previous decision on restricting the expenditure of funds.
That method starts to get uncomfortably close to having the Court make law instead of just rule on questions of it.
Personally I feel that certain liberties are so important, i.e. Freedom of Speech, that, when in doubt, it's best to risk the consequences of unfettered freedom. We must recognize that freedom requires a significant loss of security - each is an antithesis to the other.
Freedom of Speach is fundamental, but I do not believe our Founding Fathers ever envisioned a corporation as an Citizen deserving that right. In fact I suspect they would have specifically prohibitied it because of the influence that would give foreign interest operating in America. Unfortunately they did not imagine corporate influences would become so powerful and our current gov't is too broken to ever pass another Constitutional amendment. The only way this will be rectified is by having a couple of Liberal SCOTUS judges replace the Republican acitvist currently serving. Well, that or a revolution.
Dan, I suspect that you're right that the founders never anticipated corporations having the rights of a person, although there's really no way to know for sure. There were a few powerful companies back then that, at various time, had conflicts with the interests of private citizens (for example, in the US, The Hudson Bay Company). In any case, as I understand it, the US laws defining the rights of corporations do not limit those rights as compared to individual citizens. So, the court probably interpreted the existing law correctly.
You may also be right that our government now is "too broken" to pass an amendment to the Constitution. I know that it has seemed to be too dysfunctional for many years now, and that the present tends to seem much worse than the past (because we've survived the past already). However, the government has been in much worse condition and survived and the USA has flourished. So, perhaps this period of partisan gridlock will pass peacefully. I certainly hope so because I have a stake in the status quo. I have an estate, such as it is, kids who are getting established here, and friends who are also well settled.
Nevertheless, nothing lasts forever and that observation of the past can be extrapolated to saying that the USA will not last forever either, now will whatever social establishment that may follow it. Personally, I don't feel like we're anywhere near the point where a revolution would be appropriate. I think that for most US and European citizens, life is pretty good now; much better than it was for maybe 95% of all the people who have ever lived on Earth.