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Why aren’t Corporations limited to individual campaign contribution limits, if they are to be considered individuals?
Posted: 18 February 2012 07:02 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Why aren’t Corporations limited to individual campaign contribution limits, if they are to be considered individuals?

I don’t really have an answer to this question, so I’d be interested to read your thoughts.

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Posted: 18 February 2012 11:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Because they want all the advantages of Personhood, but none of the drawbacks. And since the big corporations pretty much run the show these days, they usually get what they want.

If you ever hear a corporate CEO or tame corporate spokesparrot say “We want a level playing field,” call him a liar to his face. What he really wants is a “playing field” tilted HIS way.

And don’t you just LOVE Corporatespeak? “Level playing field” is just one example. How often do you hear them talk about “arbitrage” when they mean theft, or “making a killing”, when most of us are concerned with merely “making a living”? Spot the difference there?

Theflyingsorcerer.

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Posted: 18 February 2012 11:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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The main problem isn’t the single amount they can give as a corporation, but that they can give huge donations almost anonymously to SuperPacs who then use them for a specific candidate or proposition.

Occam

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Posted: 18 February 2012 11:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Let’s not let the facts get in the way of some good old-fashioned prejudice.

First, do your own research. There is a wikipedia article on campaign finance in the United States that is entitled, oddly enough, “Campaign Finance in the United States.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Campaign_finance_in_the_United_States

Second, there is nothing magical or supernatural about corporations. In point of fact, you can become one. You can become 100. You can become 1,000. It takes about 10 minutes and requires not but a typewriter and a fee. http://www.nolo.com/info/incorporate

Third, if “corporations” have a toxic influence upon public debate, how do you know your own opinions aren’t hopelessly corrupted by this influence and, therefore, unworthy of anyone’s notice? Or are you a member of some elite that is above the influence that has the masses ensnared?

Edit: This comment was drafted prior to Occam’s comment posting and therefore does not explicitly touch on his remarks.

[ Edited: 19 February 2012 12:16 AM by Charles Collom ]
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Posted: 18 February 2012 11:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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The problem, Charles, isn’t whether each person’s opinions are correct, incorrect, toxic, etc., nor is it whether one can become a pac or a superpac.  Rather, it’s that very few individuals can flood communication media with advertisements for their opinion.  I’m delighted that our Constitution’s First Amendment assures that we can all voice our opinions; it’s just that it seems irrational that some individuals and organizations can voice theirs millions of times as loud as others of us.

Occam

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Posted: 18 February 2012 11:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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No one has a right to demand their opinion be heard. Everyone has the right to express their opinion and to hear those opinions in which they are interested. A trillion dollars of ad buys will not change my ability to create a blog for free, stand on a street corner, knock on my neighbors’ doors.

The fact remains that when the First Amendment was written the elites controlled mass media. Today this is not true.

If you don’t want to hear a corporations message, turn off the media device.  You can cocoon yourself into the epistimological bubble of your choice where the only messages that get through are skeptic or atheist or Christian or Republican or Democrat or Socialist or Libertarian or any other ideology. And what’s more you can join the chorus of voices that agree with you.

There is absolutely no need to silence people (even groups of people who have filed articles of incorporation) with whom you disagree.

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Posted: 19 February 2012 06:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Corporations are not people and hence it is simply foolish to allow them ‘freedom of speech’ as though they were.

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Posted: 19 February 2012 09:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Even in the wacky world of the law, corporations (and other such legal entities) have been treated as “persons” only in certain senses and for certain purposes.  So the Colbert PAC’s “Mitt the Ripper” is amusing, but corporations are not considered to have been murdered in the sense people are murdered.  Whether they should be considered as “persons” for purposes of the First Amendment is not necessarily dependent on their “personhood” in the law, however.  For example, the fact that people organize into associations for various purposes, including political purposes, factors in the determination.  Regardless of how you come down on the issue—and it is an important one—it isn’t quite as simple as some believe.

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Posted: 19 February 2012 02:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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I wish I could remember who commented that he wouldn’t consider corporations people until one of them is executed in Alabama or Texas.

Also shouldn’t they be forced to declare their gender so that they couldn’t merge with (marry) another of the same gender in most of the states?

Occam

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Posted: 19 February 2012 02:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Occam. - 19 February 2012 02:31 PM

Also shouldn’t they be forced to declare their gender so that they couldn’t merge with (marry) another of the same gender in most of the states?

LOL

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Posted: 19 February 2012 03:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Citizens United did two important things.

Firstly, and best known, is that it expanded the first amendment rights of corporations and other associations of people.

Secondly and in my opinion more importantly it expanded the rights of “independent-expenditure committees”.  Such committee’s, known as political action committees (PACs) had existed prior to Citizens United, but were limited in various ways.  Citizens United said that such committees could not be limited in their activities or funding.  Individuals and groups (corporations) can contribute unlimited amounts of money to these “Super PACs” and they in turn can spend that money on ads saying anything they like (subject to the ordinary laws of libel and the like.)  To be absolutely correct about it (as befits a CFI forum post), this wasn’t completely clear from the original Citizens United ruling, but was clarified by the decision of a lower court in “SpeechNow.org vs FEC”.

Elizabeth Drew recently wrote an article that I recommend about this: http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2012/feb/23/can-we-have-democratic-election/

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Posted: 19 February 2012 11:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Even assuming a single one of my prior points has been adequately addressed, which has not occurred…

Is anyone at least tempted to adduce some evidence of actual harm? I know it is pleasant to sit back and assume that slogans we read on bumper stickers and hear on Viacom funded comedy shows are true, but can we maybe at least pretend we’re interested in empiricism?

1) Identify with particularity the social harm. It will be particularly helpful to you if you don’t make things too easy on me by making it some form of “Opinions I don’t like are popular.” A good example of a particular and quantifiable social harm would be, “An Increase In Politically Motivated Violence.”
2) Show a correlation between the particular social harm and the amount of money spent on political speech in a geographic area.

Here is what I suspect will be coming back at me:

1) Candidates I disagree with get elected
2) They get more corporate money than candidates I don’t disagree with.

Or we could go back to talking about vague generalities that just serve to reinforce our preexisting views. I suspect I know what’s coming.

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Posted: 20 February 2012 07:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Occam. - 19 February 2012 02:31 PM

I wish I could remember who commented that he wouldn’t consider corporations people until one of them is executed in Alabama or Texas.

Also shouldn’t they be forced to declare their gender so that they couldn’t merge with (marry) another of the same gender in most of the states?

Occam

That would be my hero, Bill Moyers on the Colbert show. HERE (at 55 seconds in.)

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Posted: 20 February 2012 11:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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The WhY? Movement - 18 February 2012 07:02 PM

Why aren’t Corporations limited to individual campaign contribution limits, if they are to be considered individuals?

I don’t really have an answer to this question, so I’d be interested to read your thoughts.

It seems to me that the court ruling may lead to individual campaign contribution limits being unconstitutional.

IMHO, the best solution isn’t to limit money flow, but to make all politically-focused money open to public audit. No secrecy. I think that the standard argument against this is that secrecy protects contributors from retaliation. Of course, retaliation within the limits of the law is exactly what we want. If someone wants to contribute millions of dollars toward political gain of some kind, then that’s millions of dollars of influence that people should be able to protest, if they so choose. Those millions thus gets that someone (corproation or not) both that much political influence and that much publicity, for better or for worse. Political contributions should never be a guaranteed win-only situation for those who have enough money to pull the strings.

[ Edited: 20 February 2012 11:11 AM by TromboneAndrew ]
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Posted: 20 February 2012 05:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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ciceronianus - 19 February 2012 09:07 AM

So the Colbert PAC’s “Mitt the Ripper” is amusing, but corporations are not considered to have been murdered in the sense people are murdered.  Whether they should be considered as “persons” for purposes of the First Amendment is not necessarily dependent on their “personhood” in the law, however.

Nor can corporation, or their leaders, get committed and removed from society for sociopathic behaviors

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Posted: 20 February 2012 05:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Charles Collom - 18 February 2012 11:57 PM

No one has a right to demand their opinion be heard. Everyone has the right to express their opinion and to hear those opinions in which they are interested. A trillion dollars of ad buys will not change my ability to create a blog for free, stand on a street corner, knock on my neighbors’ doors.

Yea, but it does make a difference whether a few dozen listen to you or a few… or very many hundreds of thousands of people listen to you.

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