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Supreme Court's Ridiculous Reasoning Turns First Amendment Rights Upside Down

Progressive Authors Call for Total Ban on Campaign Corruption, so that We, the People may be Heard.

For Immediate Release:

( January 24, 2010 -- Machines and institutions do not speak and do not breathe. The Jolly Green Giant, Aunt Jemima and Ronald McDonald are not real and therefore do not, or should not get real rights as living, breathing people. Yet, we the people are the voice not heard.

The Supreme Court made a landmark decision in January 2010. The decision claims to uphold the First Amendment -- for corporations, restricted from using general funds to influence political campaigns since 1947. Now they may spend whatever they want to buy elections. Corporate institutions now get the same rights as individuals to speak and spend on messages, of course with immeasurably more money and extensive infrastructure. This allows machines of corporations to be more closely tied to machines of the state.

Also in 1947, George Orwell wrote 1984. In it he coined the term oligarchical collectivism: the linking of institutions, as with our corporations and the state. A new book, The Complete Patriot's Guide to Oligarchical Collectivism: Its Theory and Practice, defines patriotism in universal concepts through the Five Freedoms of the First Amendment.

The Guide supplies the historical and philosophical evidence that the Bill of Rights are to protect and preserve the rights of individuals, not of institutions. A primal concept of the United States is to limit state involvement with corporate and religious institutions, and to limit the interaction of these institutions with the state, or to limit oligarchical collectivism.

The First Amendment guarantees freedom of thought, speech, press, and peaceful political action for the citizenry. "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

The First Amendment secures these rights as a way for individuals to counter oligarchical collectivism and the mechanics of institutional ties. "Institutions are not individuals," as I note in The Patriot's Guide. -- Ethan, Author of The Complete Patriot's Guide to Oligarchical Collectivism: Its Theory and Practice, Progressive Press, 2009.

The Bill of Rights guarantees the freedom of political speech, of speaking truth to power, not any and all speech. There was no intent to do away with "natural law," or social restraints on speech that violates privacy or does harm, such as libel, false advertising, provocations, obscenity, blackmail -- or corruption.

Because these limitations on speech are so well-grounded in precedent, SCOTUS took an end run -- reminiscent of its gift of the stolen election to Bush by a specious "equal access" argument.

The majority endorsed the fatuous opinion that, "By taking the right to speak from some and giving it to others, the Government deprives the disadvantaged person or class of the right to use speech to strive to establish worth, standing, and respect for the speaker's voice."

Corporations are disadvantaged persons? They need to buy elections to be socially accepted? As if it were at issue whether poor minorities could speak out! This is so misleading as to be a bare-faced fraud. We, the People are the disadvantaged voice that cannot make itself heard!

The case before the court involved advertising spending by corporations to influence an election. In frank terms, /i]corruption. Can corporations now take the profits they make from us to pay for false advertising, if it will establish their worth and standing -- especially if they are disadvantaged by uncompetitive products?

Our government is not allowed to spend our tax money on influencing elections, either. It is a "disadvantaged person." So should the government now establish state-sponsored media to support its candidates? Wouldn't that be tyranny, just what the framers meant to guard against with the Bill of Rights?

But wait -- since the corporations already own the government -- we are already there. Corporatism is the party of oligarchy that owns, runs and finances our semblance of a two-party democracy, the media, education system, and just about everything. That's the conclusion of a recent book, Corporatism: The Secret Government of the New World Order, by Prof. Jeffrey Grupp.

Behind the scene, the legal issue was not free speech, but whether corporations are persons with the same rights as individuals. In the dissenting minority opinion, Justice Stevens wrote that the Framers of the Constitution "had little trouble distinguishing corporations from human beings, and when they constitutionalized the right of free speech in the First Amendment, it was the free speech of individual Americans they had in mind."

He is right. Glen Yeadon has shown in The Nazi Hydra in America how severe were the restrictions on corporations in the early days of the USA. Gradually SCOTUS gave them more powers, with railroads recognized as persons by the Robber Baron court in 1886 -- which opened the way to twisting the Bill of Rights against itself. Yeadon advocates a stripping of corporate powers and a return to personal liability by owners.

As Stevens concluded, "The Court's opinion is thus a rejection of the common sense of the American people, who have recognized a need to prevent corporations from undermining self government since the founding."

Our whole problem is the sway of the money power over our polity. Campaign financing is really bribery, plain and simple. Politicians are beholden not to their constituencies, but to their sponsors.

The Court's radical corporatist libertarianism can only be met now with radical purism: Outlaw all campaign financing. If we can ban advertising for cigarettes, we can ban it for candidates. With electronic media, there is less need than ever to spend bags of money buying votes.

Anyone with a reputation and some good ideas should be able to get attention. Political candidates are newsworthy in themselves. Let them triumph in the marketplace of ideas, not in the muck of selling favors to the highest bidders. And may the best one win.  For once.





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