Given the McCutcheon decision, the Supreme Court has decided that our democracy should instead be an oligarchy auctioned off to the highest bidder.
Pretty damning conclusion you have there. Sounds like an echo from; Salon, Huffington Post, New York Times, et al.
Perhaps if you read the court's syllabus on the decision, and their rational for it, you might have a different thought or two about what the decision really means.
1) the base limits on contributions to an individual candidate still stand - so the decision does not allow a donor to contribute more money to gain more influence from a particular candidate.
2) the Federal Election Commission already has rules in place to stop "multiple committee/pac" contributions that in effect enable a donor to exceed the base limits per candidate rule. - so the decision doesn't open any new doors there either.
3) the court reaffirmed that laws restricting political contributions must; "...demonstrates a sufficiently important interest and employs means closely drawn to avoid unnecessary abridgement of associational freedoms, As in, they can not make restrictions just because... they think they need to.
Of course you may be comfortable with your determination regardless. But if you did want to hear it from the horse's mouth and think for yourself, instead of relying on someone's interpretation, here is a link to the court's case syllabus:
MCCUTCHEON ET AL .v . FEDERAL ELECTION COMMISSION
Then again, I may be as wrong as I think I am right... you decide.
The oral arguments clearly laid out the premise that a billionaire could create 1000 organizations with which to launder unlimited amounts apiece (given this very court's ruling allowing thus) or $2000 per candid
ate, which lead to the conclusion that limits serve no purpose.
They specifically noted their previous decision to allow corruption, and used it to update the elimination of all restrictions given the existence of their prior decision which enshrined corruption ie bribery.
Circular-logic, see how it works?
What is left to be misunderstood about this?
I guess it boils down to what sources to trust. You appear to believe and agree with opponents of the decision, judging from your reference to the oral arguments, whereas I an speaking from the Court's own syllabus, not someones arguments or interpretations.
Of course opposing oral arguments would paint the picture you mentioned;
"...the premise that a billionaire could create 1000 organizations with which to launder unlimited amounts apiece (given this very court's ruling allowing thus) or $2000 per candidate, which lead to the conclusion that limits serve no purpose.
But the court addressed this contention with this;
"...The 1976 FECA Amendments added another layer of base limits—capping contributions from individuals to political committees—and an anti-proliferation rule prohibiting donors from creating or controlling multiple affiliated political committees. Since Buckley, the Federal Election Commission has also enacted an intricate regulatory scheme that further limits the opportunities for circumvention of the base limits through “unearmarked contributions to political committees
likely to contribute” to a particular candidate..."
Since I am trusting the court's explanation, you can do the FECA research if you don't believe them.
Then you said;
"...They specifically noted their previous decision to allow corruption, and used it to update the elimination of all restrictions given the existence of their prior decision which enshrined corruption ie bribery. "
Is the "they" the court or the folks giving the oral arguments? Sounds like you are trusting the opponent's oral arguments again - which makes sense if you are of the same mind as them.
I guess you will have to explain how "circular-logic works" to me. You judge the court's decision based on opposing argument premises - "...oral arguments clearly laid out the premise...", and accusations - "...noted their previous decision to allow corruption...", while I formed my judgement based on the court's explanation of the rational for their decision.
Obviously I don't get the circular-logic part. Hopefully you will explain it to me, because apparently there is a lot left to be misunderstood. Such as why an argument designed to oppose a decision is more valid than the explanation of why a decision was made.
By the way, you give the appearance you don't trust the Supreme Court. Is that all the time, or just when you don't agree with them? Did you also think they were wrong when they upheld the constitutionality of the contested parts of the ACA/Obamacare law?
There is no point in trying to explain the decision in the precise legal terms articulated by the Court or in terms of the requirements of the US Constitution.
To do this would, I suspect, be to "cloud the issue with facts'"
Clearly, most analyses of any Supreme Court decision are the stuff of deep political bias, anti-court bias, and a larger anti-government bias.
I find it almost amusing that basically the court (while continuing to limit donations by individuals in very meaningful, albeit problematic ways) is doing little more than returning the country generally---and campaigning more specifically, to the way that things were done for generations.
You know...when everything was wonderful and our democracy was perfect; back in the 1950s or maybe even the 1990s before Congress worked to undo freedom of political speech with things like limits on political speech disguised as "campaign finance reform".
And as for your question regarding claiming the court wrong for upholding the constitutionality of the ACA/Obamacare mandate that forces Americans to engage in commerce or be fined by the government....
I suspect we both know the answer to this question...
GA - Are you arguing with yourself or something? I know what the decision was. They struck down aggregate limits. I mentioned the oral arguments because the conservative 5 already had their minds made up that money equals speech and that there should be no limitations (which Thomas noted in his addendum to the majority decision). Obviously, what the lawyers had to say means exactly nothing. What I meant to say is that the dissent showed how this decision (combined with Citizens United) opens the door to blatant institutional bribery.
Roberts, in his infinite ignorance (remember when he decided that racism is extinct?), has declared that the only form of bribery in existence is represented by a monocled, top-hat attired billionaire with a bag labelled "bribe $$$ for Senator____" exchanging hands along with a signed contract confirming quid pro quo.
The "appearance of bribery" is no longer a concern for the conservatives who want nothing more than multinational corporate bribery in any and all aspects of democracy. Their goal is to allow corporate sponsorship of candidates, so that the voting public has no choice but to vote for a corporatist who will be happy to lavish our tax money upon their corporate sponsors.
You certainly have added quite a few more points that were in your original response, or your first response to me.
It was not my intention to argue with anyone, much less myself. I simply disagreed with your declaration of the effects of the Court's ruling - and said so.
You followed up with;
"...The oral arguments clearly laid out the premise that a billionaire could create 1000 organizations with which to launder unlimited amounts apiece (given this very court's ruling allowing thus) or $2000 per candidate, which lead to the conclusion that limits serve no purpose. ..."
...stating the arguments of the suits opponents as if that were your proof the Court was wrong.
Again, I simply pointed out your "proof" was also wrong.
As for the rest, regardless of validity... it is just your interpretation, and you are welcome to it.
If your assumptions are correct, then ALL politics, all elections, all campaigns---everything done as part of any larger effort to win an election and every vote ever cast are nothing more than either engagement with, or results of, bribery and corruption or money laundering.
This is absurd.
I applaud our due diligence in reading through the ninety plus pages of the suit but I cannot devote the time that you have in doing so. I do however offer an opinion that as we all know is what everybody has. The influence of money on our political process has done more damage to the rights of individuals than any other wrongful infliction upon our well being that we possess as Americans. That it is allowed is a miscarriage of justice as those scrambling for the funds sell what is not theirs to sell. That is the vote of the majority. I am not concerned with the who, what or were for of the issue but what is at the core of its inception and that is to buy political favor in a representative democracy. It is a core bastardization of the process. Just because the Supreme Court says it is legal does not make it just.
Your point is a different one than that of the original OP, and my response to it - the correctness of the court's "constitutionality" ruling on one of the FEC's campaign contributions limits.
But you are not wrong about the corrupting influence of money in the election process.
My second but... is I think your condemnation is focused on the wrong culprit. It is the abuse of the power of money in the process, not the use of money itself.
For instance; would you condemn a group of neighbors that hold a sidewalk bake sale to raise money for a candidate of their choice to be able to buy a billboard advertisement promoting their candidacy? Or to help with travel expenses so the candidate can carry their message to more voters?
Would you deny a candidate's supporter the right to offer the use of a megaphone so the candidate on a corner soapbox could project his voice to those in the rear of a gathered crowd?
My point is that the restriction of the ability to contribute money to support a candidate would be an abridgement of our rights - so money is not the problem, it is the abuse of its use that is the problem.
From loaning a megaphone, to paying for $100 million dollars worth of "advertising" is just a matter of degree. But you are right - a line has to be drawn somewhere. The real problem is that it is the fox that is being asked to design the protection for the hens.
Exactly right---the problem is not money, but abuse of money (and we could substitute any X in the equation and the problem is not X, but abuse of X), but the fashion of the day is to (as we used to say) "throw the baby out with the bath water".
Nuanced understandings and close reads of anything are, sadly increasingly, a thing of the past.
As I said I am not arguing your reference to the McCutcheon ruling as I have not read the document. So I will not offer any criticism to your conclusions. I am however in opposition of the way money is raised and spent with regards to influence. Your point is well taken and I agree that money can be of some good use. The snafu lies in the abuse you mentioned. How is it to be determined where and when that abuse takes place? If money besides volunteering is the only other means by which an individual can show their support for a candidate what method can be used to make sure there is equality among the candidates to get their message out? I think publicly funded campaigns is the only solution. If a candidate can garner enough support through the gathering of voter signatures, then that candidate would be afforded more campaign financing. It would then be incumbent upon the candidate to campaign as his popularity supports his expenses. The current method only proves that a bully can buy influence and that his or their bidding is rewarded as a result.
I understand that you were not disagreeing with me. Nor I with you, except as a matter of "all or nothing" not being the solution.
As for your question of how is the abuse to be controlled - greater minds than mine have tried to solve this dilemma - obviously to no avail.
Regarding the often mentioned public financing option... Would those neighborhood bake sales be prohibited under a public financing scheme? How about donating a hall for a town meeting with the candidate?
In other words, would a public financing arrangement cut off any and all other money or donated services to a candidate from a supporter? Wow, talk about abridging free speech!
The system definitely needs reform and regulation, it just beats me to see what that would be.
I appreciate your understanding the gist of my post and I apologize for my not addressing the documents you have mentioned as your basis for your post. If I have some free time where I am not reading the full palette of what is before me I will endeavor to read the document in question. I do thank you for addressing my questions unlike a few others who wish to demean and criticize for their own edification.
Of course in the event of running for office a candidate should be able to have a limit they can collect on their political journey towards an office. I know you can't think I would be against such resources. What is at question is union, corporate and rich individuals who's purpose is clearly one of self interest over the will of the majority in elections. I was giving an example of how a larger campaign which for in the presidency is in the billions of dollars. This type of election is not funded by those who are questionable for what is best for the country and not for the many struggling to provide for their families and voting for those who's desire is what is best. An all or nothing scenario is not what I would ever suggest as I try to remain in the middle on most all issues. I agree it is a monumental undertaking given the political climate we now have towards polar opposition.
How fortunate your response is - for me.
I agree with you, by the way. And I have been itching to share a quote that I thought would be humorous to most politically interested folks nowadays.
Not sarcastically speaking, I hope this is not boring, or "too much information."
In the quest to get the original constitution adopted, John Jay, of the Constitution and Federalist papers fame, said this;
"...Because when once an efficient national government is established, the best men in the country will not only consent to serve, but also will generally be appointed to manage it; for, although town or country, or other contracted influence, may place men in State assemblies, or senates, or courts of justice, or executive departments, yet more general and extensive reputation for talents and other qualifications will be necessary to recommend men to offices under the national government,--especially as it will have the widest field for choice, and never experience that want of proper persons which is not uncommon in some of the States. Hence, it will result that the administration, the political counsels, and the judicial decisions of the national government will be more wise, systematical, and judicious than those of individual States..." source: Federalist Papers #3
Can you imagine what he would think if he saw the state of national level politics now!
Anyway, although I can't imagine how it would be fairly structured, and I can imagine the ingenious circumventions smart people would come up with - a limit on total dollars spent per candidate does sound like a plausible idea. If you only have so much of something, and everyone has the same "only so much," then it would only be wise to make the most effective use of what you have, and not rely on the unlimited as a bludgeon to get the job done.
I think before we express opinions we need to take the time to read the primary documents.
After all, if you do not know the content of a opinion of the court, how can you comment on it?
As you referenced my "opinion" I am surprised you did not understand it. My comment was to one of opposition to those who would buy influence through campaign donations. It was not in criticism of the posters conclusions. The topic of campaign donations is what I commented on and not the McCutcheon decision.
Explain, then, exactly who comprises this oligarchy in the US and where and how it functions to undermine democracy.
I'm not sure about all that, but I think it comes in a can. Like Spaghettios.
Oligarchy means rule by a powerful few. Whom? The Koch brothers for starters. Shelly Adelson. The Steyers. Soros. The Waltons. Bloomberg. Art Pope. The list goes on...
Anyone who purchases our representatives for personal gain are undermining democracy. A system which allows multinational corporations (or unions or billionaires) to purchase our legislators at auction is by very definition undemocratic and therefore unAmerican.
We have a system that insures our voices will be heard by our representatives, and it's called casting your ballot. I only get one ballot just like George Soros gets one ballot. Unfortunately, the Koch brothers have billions that they are perfectly willing to lavish upon cheap political whores so they can abolish the EPA, the minimum wage, Social Security... whatever lines their pockets the best and keeps the poors from having any say over what happens to this country.
Oh, and 19 of 20 elections are won by the candidate who prostitutes themselves most effectively by raising the most money. And we praise them for it.
Again, plutocratic oligarchy (or oligarchic plutocracy, same difference).
The real problem is that you are offended by any money spent to support any political agenda with which you do not agree.
Soros is your hero.
The Koch Brothers, because their politics is contrary to yours, are the villains.
And yet the Koch brothers employ thousands of people in good jobs and donate enormous sums to charity, all the while George Soros is nursing his hate and hiding from foreign governments whose currency he destroyed. Who is the villain, Soros is one Totenkopf officer's cap short of being a supervillain.
mbugg - If you had bothered to read past the first sentence you would realize that I listed many liberal billionaires as well as conservative (similar to the IRS "scandal"...). You are nothing but a partisan hack projecting his own shortcomings onto others.
retief - And yet the Koch's suppress wages, with only a third of their employees belonging to a labor union. They bribe union-busting politicians (Scott Walker for instance). They've spent hundreds of millions spreading easily fact-checked lies about Obamacare. They (Georgia Pacific for instance) pump pollution into the waterways and the atmosphere so they can make a few extra bucks while destroying the planet for our grandkids and paying relatively miniscule amounts in settlements and fines. They bankroll any politicians who will slash Social Security, Medicare, & Medicaid (and the EPA). They oppose the minimum wage. They've paid for veto power over PBS programming. They've paid for veto power over professorial hiring at numerous state universities...
If there were such things as supervillains, the Kochs would be the physical embodiment. Their dad made his money working with Stalin, felt very bad about it, and was very philanthropic in trying to remedy his sins. David and Charles are spoiled rich kids who have no shame, use their philanthropy to buy influence, aren't satisfied with owning the private sector, and feel the need to buy our government as well. (And btw, they couldn't give an ish less about abortion or gay marriage, it's all about their personal profit-margins.)
But they are not the problem, it's the system which allows them to do so. Which is why this thread isn't about the Kochs or the Steyers, it's about the SCOTUS which has created the system unilaterally. (Going back to Dartmouth College v Woodyard, 1819; and Buckley v Valeo, 1976)
Your last sentence is: "Again, plutocratic oligarchy (or oligarchic plutocracy, same difference)." The sentence---which in its articulation reminds me of something a child might say, makes clear that despite your name-calling and projection of the identity of "partisan political hack", it is you who demonstrates a basic lack of comprehension even of the words you attempt to use.
And you claim that others demonstrate partisanship, and yet, your rant is nothing more than left-wing, youthful, and uninformed partisan speech...almost amusing.
Let me get this straight - you are attempting to show how dumb I must be because I said both plutocratic oligarchy and oligarchic plutocracy?
In case you don't know - one means gov't by a few, moneyed people; and the other means gov't by a moneyed, few people.
Did you think you were clever or something? Did you have a point, or are you simply attempting to demonstrate how childish you are?
I am pointing out that words you think are synonyms are not. Let me offer simple and easy to understand definitions:
PLUTOCRACY: A SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT in which the wealthiest class of people rule by law or constitutional privilege or by de facto conditions.
OLIGARCHY: A POWER STRUCTURE in which power---note that this is NOT a form of government, is held by a select few generally distinguished by wealth or military experience or education or lineage.
By making more money available in politics it reduces the value of that money. It is the scarcity of the money that makes for corruption, not is presence. Besides, this opinion is offered in ignorance - one candidate cannot receive any more from one, individual donor than before. It merely means that a large dollar donor can donate to many more candidates, good news for Spielberg, Oprah, Warren Buffett, Bill Gates and all the other lefty OLIGARCHS.
This would hardly be a concern if POLITICIANS didn't offer themselves for sale - Obama's price tag was around a billion and it is paying off for Wall Street and for Vladimir Putin.
It was a republic, that democracy clap trap didn't really gain power until the Racist Woodrow Wilson.
Scarcity of money? What world are you living in? Presidential candidacies now cost over a billion dollars apiece (that's per candidate). Senate seats can be bought for $10m and house seats for a mere $2.5m. 435 house seats times $2.5m; plus 100 seats at $10m; plus a pres for $1b: which is over $3 trillion dollars - and that's just counting the winning candidates! Add in the losers and I'm guessing it's well over $5 trillion being lavished upon corporate media conglomerates every few years.
What else could we be doing with $5 trillion dollars every few years?
BTW, Wall Street bailed on Obama as soon as he got elected and he started talking about the "fat cats". Look since 2010, Wall Street has given basically nothing to Dems aside from Cuomo, Shumer, and Menendez - most all the rest has gone to conservatives who live on their knees for the "job creators". You're gonna hafta work on those talking points...
And I agree, Wilson was trash. He just didn't realize what he had done until he was out of office and had better perspective (perhaps because he no longer had the "job creators" with all of the influence waiting in line to tell him what was be best for the country).
Yes, my boy, scarcity.
If you understood Economics 101 you would understand that scarcity is a function of marginal dollars not aggregate dollars. The number of zeros do not matter. What matters is who has the next ONE dollar.
If you understood Civics 101, you would realize that giving money while insisting upon certain outcomes based upon that money is the very definition of bribery.
And claiming that bribes have no effect on future actions is just plain stupid. Congrats!
Let me explain some legal stuff to you:
What you are describing is a prid pro quo situation which in legal terms---which are the only terms that would matter in a legal context, requires that there be a contract that involves what is called "consideration" or the equal exchange of something of value for something else of value.
In the United States, whether you agree with it or not, political donors are legally entitled to support candidates that hold positions with which the donors agree, or which will benefit the donors. This is called politics.
The political contribution becomes bribery only when there is an identifiable and specific prid pro quo in which ALL parties to the contract for consideration benefit equally.
In most cases in the US it is the donor/constituent who benefits and who benefits more than the recipient/politicians. As a result no legal condition of prid quo pro exists. If there is no legal prid pro quo, then there is no bribery.
In other words, it ain't legally what you think it is.
And son, before you were born (if your profile picture is actually you), I was teaching Civics 101.
Lefties have trouble with material reality. It is not the money, it is the man. One cannot be purchased if one is not for sale.
You are absolutely right: If you are not for sale, you cannot be bought.
Unfortunately, a lot of young people (and liberals) equate material reality---including partisan politics which they really do not understand---with corruption.
And, while enjoying the middle-class comforts that money provides, they as we say, "bite the hand that feeds them."
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