How to Convince Congress to Limit Free Speech

Ryan Sager has interesting revelations in the NY Post about who supported Campaign Finance "Reform".  There is not a lot of confirmation yet on his story, though he has transcripts from some interesting insider speeches linked. 

I bet every one of the groups who financed this effort and that Mr. Sager lists would piously swear that they are supporters of civil rights and the first amendment.  It is interesting to see the hypocrisy in their assault on political speech.

One Comment

  1. Ben DoubleCrossed:

    Conspiracy Theory
    If the special interests are half as powerful as we have been led to believe why shouldn’t we believe they crafted the Campaign Reform laws?

    Purpose of Campaign Laws
    The need for Federal Campaign reforms hinge on the potential of big contributions to buy influence in public matters. As a consequence, candidates are limited in how much they can accept from any given donor and required to make public reports, at regular intervals, listing the names, occupations, addresses of donors and their amounts. Furthermore, the candidate must provide public reports stating how the funds are spent.

    Who is Exempt
    The preceding sounds like a reasonable and laudable public goal but who is exempted from contributions that influence public matters?

    The Press Exemption:
    2 USC 431 (9) (B) The term "expenditure" does not include -
    (i) any news story, commentary, or editorial distributed
    through the facilities of any broadcasting station, newspaper,
    magazine, or other periodical publication, unless such facilities
    are owned or controlled by any political party, political
    committee, or candidate;

    Is Corporate Media Unbiased
    A newspaper must at all times antagonize the selfish interests of that very class which furnishes the larger part of a newspaper's income... The press in this country is dominated by the wealthy few...that it cannot be depended upon to give the great mass of the people that correct information concerning political, economical and social subjects which it is necessary that the mass of people Shall have in order that they the best way to protect themselves from the brutal force and chicanery of the ruling and employing classes. (E.W. Scripps).

    Fact or Fiction – You Decide
    "The 20th century has been characterized by three developments of great political importance: the growth of democracy; the growth of corporate power; and the growth of corporate propaganda as a means of protecting corporate power against democracy." -Alex Carey, Australian social scientist who pioneered the investigation of corporate propaganda (see Taking the Risk Out Of Democracy, Univ of New South Wales, 1995)

    Since trade ignores national boundaries and the manufacturer insists on having the world as a market, the flag of his nation must follow him, and the doors of the nations which are closed against him must be battered down. Concessions obtained by financiers must be safeguarded by ministers of state, even if the sovereignty of unwilling nations be outraged in the process." Woodrow Wilson, President of the United States, 1907

    We all know that, as things actually are, many of the most influential and most highly remunerated members of the Bar in every center of wealth, make it their special task to work out bold and ingenious schemes by which their wealthy clients, individual or corporate, can evade the laws which were made to regulate, in the interests of the public, the uses of great wealth. (T. Roosevelt, 1905, at his Harvard Commencement address).

    As we view the achievements of aggregated capital, we discover the existence of trusts, combinations, and monopolies, while the citizen is struggling far in the rear, or is trampled beneath an iron heel. Corporations, which should be the carefully restrained creatures of the law and the servants of the people, are fast becoming the people's masters (President Grover Cleveland, 1888, quoted by Hughes, Jonathan, R. T. The Governmental Habit Redux: Economic Controls from Colonial Times to the Present, Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1991, p. 112, citing Swisher, Karl Brent, American Constitutional Development, Houghton Mifflin, Boston, 1954, p. 422).

    "the Supreme Court ruled no such thing in 1886. The 'corporations are persons' ruling was a fiction created by the court's reporter. He simply wrote the words into the headnote of the decision. The words contradict what the court actually said. There is, in fact, in the US National Archives a note by the Supreme Court Chief Justice of the time explicitly informing the reporter that the court had not ruled on corporate personhood in the Santa Clara case." -- Thom Hartmann, Dinosaur War, The Ecologist, December/January 2002 Issue

    "[A U.S.] Supreme Court ruling in 1886 ... arguably set the stage for the full-scale development of the culture of capitalism, by handing to corporations the right to use their economic power in a way they never had before. Relying on the Fourteenth Amendment, added to the Constitution in 1868 to protect the rights of freed slaves, the Court ruled that a private corporation is a natural person under the U.S. Constitution, and consequently has the same rights and protection extended to persons by the Bill of Rights, including the right to free speech. Thus corporations were given the same "rights" to influence the government in their own interests as were extended to individual citizens, paving the way for corporations to use their wealth to dominate public thought and discourse. The debates in the United States in the 1990s over campaign finance reform, in which corporate bodies can "donate" millions of dollars to political candidates stem from this ruling although rarely if ever is that mentioned. Thus, corporations, as "persons," were free to lobby legislatures, use the mass media, establish educational institutions such as many business schools founded by corporate leaders in the early twentieth century, found charitable organizations to convince the public of their lofty intent, and in general construct an image that they believed would be in their best interests. All of this in the interest of "free speech." -- (Bold Emphasis Added) Richard Robbins, Global Problems and the Culture of Capitalism, (Allyn and Bacon, 1999), p.100

    "I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country...Corporations have been enthroned, an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the dollar 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

    Every man is equally entitled to protection by law; but when the laws undertake to add... artificial distinctions, to grant titles, gratuities, and exclusive privileges, to make the rich richer and the potent more powerful, the humble members of society--the farmers, mechanics, and laborers--who have neither the time nor the means of securing like favors to themselves, have a right to complain of the injustice of their government. (President Andrew Jackson, veto of national bank bill, July 10, 1832).

    Note Redstate Blog says FEC scheduled to begin review of how BCRA should apply to web Thursday - March 24, 2005.

    Get your missiles .. uhh missives ready!