Monday, February 1, 2010

Congress Shall Make no Law...Except McCain-Feingold, if Chuck Schumer has his Way

Well, fellow tin-foil-hat-wearing drones, today marks an interesting yet predictable turn of events for McCain-Feingold, or rather, the death of it. Senator Charles Schumer of New York opened his fat mouth again and spewed some vitriol about corporate free speech being "un-American". Excuse me? Corporate executives don't have the same rights as others? I believe the Left has a word for that, which they throw out any time someone stands up for themselves or their beliefs: Discrimination. And don't even get me started on the idiocy over in the UK about advertisers not being able to advertise specifically for "reliable" workers. That's for another post.

But back to our own Useful Idiots in question:

Among others, Senator Schumer was apparently a supporter of the McCain-Feingold bill, as were the two sponsors of that bill, obviously, John McCain and Russ Feingold, all of whom are incumbent Senators. *cough*corruption*cough*.

Corporate free speech is not un-American.

'Nuff said.

I believe the Supreme Court made the right decision in this matter simply because of a few simple words: "Congress shall make NO LAW" regarding Freedom of Speech or Press. (emphasis mine). Is that REALLY so hard for people to understand? President Woodrow Wilson tried to outlaw anti-war speech during WWI. Didn't work. FDR used his 9th Fireside Chat to lambaste the Supreme Court for opposing his New Deal programs. Worked, but not as well as he would have liked.

What exactly is un-American about a corporation, which is made up of, when all is said and done, some of the very people whom the Constitution protects, endorsing who they want to endorse for whatever political office that person might be running? I see nothing wrong with it.

President Obama disagrees, however. He pledged a "strong bi-partisan response" to overturn McCain-Feingold, which of course just goes to show how laughably arrogant this administration is. He can't even get his signature piece of legislation passed with bi-partisan support. What makes him think he can do this? Oh, right. He's Barack the Magic Negro. He can do anything. Or at least he can pretend to do anything while doing absolutely nothing.

I have several questions, in fact, about what the Obama Administration sees as an attack on "democracy itself". Allowing people to speak their minds through any forum they wish is the very ESSENCE of our Republic, and when they start chipping away at that, it's the SCOTUS's job to patch the wall. Separation of Powers, right? Not under this joke of a president, apparently. I believe he said something in the SOTU speech about issuing an executive order to overturn a Constitutional Ruling. No abuse of power there, no sirree.

Note above that I mentioned all three supporters of this bill were INCUMBENT senators. I don't know if any freshman congressmen supported this bill, but if they did they apparently were woefully ignorant about what it would mean. The article specifically states, quoting one of those Washington Elitists that the law gave them the power to ban books during election cycles.

Does that sound like these senators were protecting free speech to you? I didn't think so.

As the article says:

The panic felt by incumbents cannot be because they are concerned with corruption. After all, the majority of states do not bar independent expenditures by corporations and unions in campaigns. One of those states is Washington. Somehow we have managed to survive since 1889 with such an "un-American" system in place.

This hits the nail right on the head. The INCUMBENT senators are not concerned with corruption. They are concerned with their seats in congress and nothing more. That's why this bill was passed, and that is why the SCOTUS struck it down, to their credit.

Sometimes I forget that there are good people on the court, given that it has had a liberal majority for so long. I remember vehemently opposing Sonya Sotomayor's appointment to the court, given her decision in the infamous Firefighter Case she presided over months ago.

still, whether liberal majority or not, the SCOTUS did the right thing here.

Oh, and Mr. Schumer, don't go calling free speech un-American. You sound like an idiot when you do that.

Continuing to fight the Good Fight-

C.C.

P.S.

Here's the article since I couldn't link to it for some reason:

The U.S. Supreme Court decision clearing the way for corporations to contribute more freely to political campaigns has been maligned by many U.S. leaders as "un-American," writes guest columnist Bill Maurer. He argues that the court majority in the 5-4 ruling did the right thing under the First Amendment.

By Bill Maurer

Special to The Times

PREV of NEXT



SEN. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., called it "un-American." Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., said the American people "would pay dearly" for it. President Obama said that it "strikes at democracy itself" and that he could not think of "anything more devastating to the public interest." The president went quickly before the cameras, pledging an immediate and "forceful bipartisan response."

What was this threat to the Republic? What horrific occurrence caused these public servants such alarm?

It was a Supreme Court decision — Citizens United v. FEC — that said the government cannot ban speech by people it does not like.

Most Americans would assume that the First Amendment means the federal government cannot ban any speech. After all, the Constitution says "Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech." As Justice Hugo Black was fond of pointing out, "no law" means "no law."

Nevertheless, a bipartisan group of incumbents passed a law — McCain-Feingold — in 2002 that made it a felony for all corporations, including nonprofit advocacy corporations, to expressly advocate for the election or defeat of a federal candidate or to broadcast communications that refer to a candidate for federal office within 30 days of a primary election and 60 days of a general election. In other words, the government made it a crime for a group of citizens to come together and choose to speak about elections if they picked the wrong form for their association.

The government even said this law gave them the ability to ban books before elections. It is difficult to see how a law that gives the government the power to ban books is not one "abridging the freedom of speech."

The proponents of McCain-Feingold said it was necessary because when people associated using the corporate form, they would be too persuasive. In other words, once corporations, comprised of individuals, could "interfere" with elections, Americans would simply march to whatever tune corporations called.

This is nonsense, of course. Sometimes corporate advertising is influential. Sometimes it is not. How many Americans watch the XFL while drinking the Pepsi Clear they brought home in their new Oldsmobile?

Of course, the law already permitted some corporations to use their products to try to influence political elections, and rightfully so. You are reading one of those products right now. It makes no sense to make it a crime for a small technology company to advocate for the election of a pro-intellectual-property politician, while The New York Times can urge the defeat or election of any candidate it chooses.

The panic felt by incumbents cannot be because they are concerned with corruption. After all, the majority of states do not bar independent expenditures by corporations and unions in campaigns. One of those states is Washington. Somehow we have managed to survive since 1889 with such an "un-American" system in place.

Corporations are each different. Some will see this decision as an opportunity to support pro-free-market politicians. Some will use it use it to support liberal politicians. And some will ignore politics completely and simply try to provide goods and services the public wants. This is because a corporation, like every association — a marriage, a neighborhood association or a nonprofit organization — is made up of people. It is the people who are now free to speak and to choose the form they believe is the most effective for disseminating their message.

This is America. We do not ban books. We do not make it a crime to speak because the speech may be too influential. With this decision, Americans will get more information, hear more debate, and learn more about their elections. With all due respect to Sen. Schumer, what could be more American than that?
Bill Maurer is the executive director of the Institute for Justice, Washington Chapter. IJ's brief in Citizens United was cited in the U.S. Supreme Court majority opinion.