Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Supreme Court: Wave Goodbye

Can't hide my head in the sand anymore. I'd like to, but it's time to discuss the recent Supreme Court decision.


What the Supreme Court did, was to rule that corporations are entitled to "personhood" in a way that allows unlimited campaign contributions. Tom Delay is very excited because this means he probably won't go to jail on the money laundering charges he's facing. Other than that, all I can say is democracy is no longer for the people, by the people. It will be decided by corporations.

Because they are people, too.

Now, it's true that they have always had some semblance of personhood. This ruling takes that a step farther into elections. Yes, they will, just as people do, have to have their contributions recorded.

Bu the elections will already be decided. Imagine, ExxonMobil with the opportunity to buy a few representatives to get their environmental policies pushed through. Or the health insurance industry pocketing a couple senators to have the outcome of health reform balanced in a way that shows up in a positive bottom line for them.

Why, you say, they already do that. Yes, I would agree to some extent they do. But now? The sky is the limit. And it's legal.

So what can be done?

Not much. We can hope that corporations will want to have a positive image, which is always a line audit reports of most company annual reports as a possible risk. Although one could argue Exxon ran the Valdez into the ground, spilled oil, ruined the environment and hasn't paid a dime for it.

People still pull into Exxon to fill up. I don't but look at their profits. Please. No one cares. A bag of chips, good TV show, and most Americans are happy.

Shareholder resolutions? How can you argue that they should not be contributing when those contributions positively effect their bottom line? You can't.

Ok, so roll up your sleeves and say, enough with this Supreme Court. Let's have term limits. First, that takes a constitutional amendment. The Democrats can't even pass a bill saying people like hot dogs right now, let alone something as serious as changing the constitution. Besides, it would ultimately politicize even further the part of the government that is not suppose to be political.

I know, hard not to snicker at that one, isn't it?

Campaign finance reform? Um, let's remember about the hot dogs. Congress can't pass anything right now. And the right wing conservatives see this as playing into their favor. Ultimately, it won't. They will have short term wins- I see Roe v. Wade going down very soon. If corporations can have personhood and never be live, sentient beings, why isn't an embryo that has the possibility of becoming such a thing?

Brought to you by the makers of Pampers.

Scott Brown winning the senate seat is nothing compared to this folks. For the first time in all my years of activism, I feel completely helpless. I wish I could take a pill, like in the Matrix, and be stupid and unaware. As Hamlet asked,

"Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles
And, by opposing, end them

Only I'd add a question mark- by opposing, do we end them?

I'm not sure I know what the point is anymore. I guess we can all wave goodbye to what little democracy we had left.


Blogger Sue J said...

I just finished reading an article over at Yes! magazine -- which you really should check out, by the way, in your current funk -- which is titled 10 Ways to Stop Corporate Dominance of Politics

I think at this point the challenge is to channel all the outrage that's out there in the American public right now ....

10:17 AM  
Blogger Sara said...

I had read that the other day. All the remedies are hopeful- I am not sure they are possible.

12:40 PM  
Anonymous Morgan said...

Of the ten,the last one (Publicize the reform options, inform the public of who is making contributions to whom, and activate the citizenry) is the only one I believe has a chance of happening. Primarily due to the fact that the politicians don't believe citizens will actually become united to raise enough of a stink. And if the citizens did, have the politicians ever listened before? I would hope (there is that word again) so, but I'm starting to see alot of numb individuals.

6:14 PM  
Anonymous donald said...

i have heard sandra day o'connor, who wrote the original opinion against this, is very upset.

although, individuals have maximum limits that they can contribute to any one campaign. if corporations are now considered individuals, won't they be restricted to the same maximum limits?

7:59 AM  
Blogger Sara said...

it's more complicated than this simple answer, but the bottom line is- no, donald.

8:08 AM  
Blogger Monty said...

Look on the bright side if it is possible. During this winter of discontent that bastard in Kansas was convicted. He is now looking at 25 to life

8:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Monsanto, Chevron, Microsoft, Walmart, GM, MacDonald's, Bank of America, Blue Cross and Philip Morris are citizens just like you and me. Long live USA Inc.

11:35 PM  
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9:59 AM  

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