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Corporations, Political Spending, & the Supreme Court

(Photos by Robin Holland)

This week on the JOURNAL, Bill Moyers spoke with legal experts Zephyr Teachout and Monica Youn about the Supreme Court's controversial ruling last week on the case Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.

In a 5-4 decision, the Court cited the First Amendment to strike down laws that restricted corporations and unions from spending funds from their general treasuries on political communications in periods shortly before elections and primaries. The decision has aroused passionate reactions from observers across the political spectrum about corporate influence on elections and whether money spent on political advertising should qualify as free speech protected under the First Amendment.

Zephyr Teachout, who teaches law and politics at Fordham University's School of Law, said:

"This is not just a First Amendment question. This is a question of what kind of society do we want to live in... Imagine a Senate race in a few years [if] efforts to break up the banks got into a high pitch, and a candidate recognizes that people in her state are very supportive of this effort to break up the banks, but the polls are close. So, she comes out with a strong statement saying 'I want a cap on how big a bank can be, in the billions.' That night, there can be ad hominem attacks funded by Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley on her, directly paid, that cover the airways. Not only can that happen, but she knows that can happen. How likely is she to take on one of the most important economic questions that we have right now, how to structure our financial industry, when she knows the financial industry is already spending $400 million a year on lobbying?"

Monica Youn, who directs the campaign finance reform/money in politics project at New York University's Brennan Center for Law and Justice, said:

"The marketplace of ideas doesn't give anyone, any corporation or any individual, the right to buy an election. The First Amendment is an important part of our Constitution, but so is the idea that this is a democracy. This is a society based on the idea of one person - one vote, and our elections should not be marketplaces. They should be about voters. They should be about helping the electorate make an informed decision, and the electorate is not going to be able to make an informed decision if all they can see on the air, hear on the radio, are attacks ads funded by hidden corporate agendas... There's a reason our Constitution was set up the way it was, and there's a reason you can't buy an election, because we didn't intend for those who have the most money just to be able to get everything in the system the way they want it every time."

Progressive author (and former lawyer) Glenn Greenwald, who has appeared on the JOURNAL several times, has expressed qualified support for the Supreme Court's decision. On his blog, he wrote:

"I'm deeply ambivalent about the court's ruling... Even on a utilitarian level, the long-term dangers of allowing the Government to restrict political speech invariably outweigh whatever benefits accrue from such restrictions... The speech restrictions struck down by Citizens United do not only apply to Exxon and Halliburton; they also apply to non-profit advocacy corporations, such as, say, the ACLU and Planned Parenthood, as well as labor unions, which are genuinely burdened in their ability to express their views by these laws... Laws which prohibit organized groups of people - which is what corporations are - from expressing political views goes right to the heart of free speech guarantees no matter how the First Amendment is understood... The invalidated statute at issue here exempted media corporations - such as Fox and MSNBC - from these restrictions, since the government obviously can't ban media figures from going on television and opining about elections (the way they do all other corporations)... It allowed the views of News Corp., GE, and Viacom to flourish (through their ownership of media outlets) while preventing the ACLU and Planned Parenthood from speaking out."

What do you think?

  • If you were a Justice on the Supreme Court, how would you have voted in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission? Explain.

  • Should Congress move to pass new laws regulating political spending from corporations and unions? If so, what would you suggest?

  • How are you and your community working to win political power for the people over deep-pocketed special interests?

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    I realize the First Amendment supporters like the SCOTUS decision but I believe people like Glenn Greenwald miss the larger picture. According to Thom Hartmann's book, "Unequal Protection", in the 2000 presidential race corportions outspent unions 15:1. With the depleted middle class financially struggling, public advocacy groups such as Move-On and others will no longer have their moneyed backing to match that of corporations in running political ads.

    In response to Christians United for Isreal clip

    I feel that my words would be insufficient so i will let Jesus speak for himself
    "As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, 'if you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace--but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God's coming to you.'" (Luke 19:41-44)
    "You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subjects to judgment.' But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, 'Raca,' (Aramaic word for "Empty-head!) is answerable to the Sanhedrin, But anyone who says, 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell." (Matthew 5:21-22)
    "You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.' But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. You have heard it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons and daughters of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect." (Matthew 5:38-48)
    "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never know you, Away from me, you evildoers!'" (Matthew 7:21-23)

    Work for NO future and pay taxes for IDIOT POLITICIANS to take care of their rich buddies.Now they want a CENSUS done to get more out of the few working.Working under the table and not filing the census report starting to make sence!

    I wanted to respond to a segment that featured Ted Olson and David Boies regarding the recent supreme court decision in Citizens United vs FEC but there was no blog that I could find specific to that segment so here it is. Ted Olson's argument in favor of the decision was that it is unconstitutional to deny groups of individuals the right of free speech in regards to election campaign financing. He said that individuals would not get very far as individuals in election campaign financing. Therefore, individuals joining together in groups and making campaign contributions should not be restricted. It seems this is the flaw in that line of reasoning. Why should groups that admittedly have an advantage in terms of money have a greater influence in campaign spending and thus elections than individuals?

    This sounds anti-democratic and a good argument for public financing of election campaigns.


    I have to ardently disagree with you, the Supreme Court made the wrong decision. I would not use the word “inspirational” nor would I use the term “embrace the 1st Amendment” in describing Citizens United .v FEC. I guess that I trusted our Founding Documents as more than political fodder; alas, I was very wrong. Read your Constitution. I defy you to not only find the word “corporation”, but more importantly the language that permits the construction of corporations as equivalent as natural born persons. I am confident that there exists no such terms. This is the overriding problem with the Court, historically; it can and does do more than interpret the Constitution, it effectively rewrites it. In this argument it matters little, the difference political persuasions, progressive – conservatives, or Republican- Democrat; because either way our rights as human citizens are diluted, overrun or simply ignored. My fundamental problem with the Court is not corporation per se, it is however that I must now compete with corporation politically; and I will lose. Read the Preamble to the Constitution and tell me if you can understand my fundamental concern.

    As I have stated in another posting, if you can see our country as having no concept of corporate citizenship, then you would see a country that Washington, Madison, Franklin, and Jefferson would recognize as their own. Until the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment in 1868, the Court consistently held that corporations are constructed from and operate within common law. Aside from Contract Clause prohibitions, corporations possessed no Constitutional rights.

    Read the Fourteenth Amendment and understand its post Civil War rational of providing Constructional relief from racially discriminatory laws; laws that were constitutionally permissible from the Court’s point of view. I defy you to find the definitive Constitutional construction within this Amendment which provides for corporate citizenship. I am also confident that there exists no such terms.

    The Court, however, situated corporations within the Constitution in 1886, and did so using indistinct and unobservable scrutiny. You must have read, at nausea perhaps, posting referring to Santa Clara County; permit me to expand on it however. The Court in SANTA CLARA COUNTY v. SOUTHERN PAC. R. CO., 118 U.S. 394 (1886), made a decision that placed corporation into the Constitution. The only words in this decision that the Court uses to enable corporate personhood through the Fourteenth Amendment are those in the case syllabus; placed there by the court reporter, J.C. Bancroft Davis. Mr. Davis put on paper the words spoken by Chief Justice Morrison Waite prior to oral arguments: “…corporations are persons within the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States”. Thus, the momentous change to our Constitution was committed without explanation, reference, annotation nor precedence. Hallmarks of an “Activist Court” perhaps? The headnotes that Mr. Davis provided to the opinion are now enshrined as precedence for the establishment of corporate citizenship, and therefore the extension of Constitutional protections. But without question, if you were to look at Santa Clara, you would find that the Court made no such ruling, and in fact rejected the defendants Fourteenth Amendment claims. Regardless of these disparities in the Santa Clara, the Court has made clear its preferred dicta; does this fact then illustrate the extent to which the Court wishes to engage in “judicial activism?” Even given the disputable origins for such a ruling, the Court over the years has based numerous rulings upon it; as if this somehow adds credibility to the miscarriage. Seemingly the Court has taken the machine gunners approach of: “Accuracy by volume”. Read Santa Clara and its progeny and realize that that the Court over the years devised a scenario of facts supplied by the Court Reported over the objections of their own findings. And further, understand that the Court made this untenable holding even more abhorrent by the insistence on applying the words contained in this headnotes, even though the practice of employing headnotes is, in fact, counter to the Courts own holdings. I have to say that I expect far more from my Supreme Court.

    To close, I realize that the Court consists of some incredibly intelligent and diligent people, but yet the Court is ultimately a political body. Its operation must be consistent with political structure, and the political affinities of the day; whether the “Gilded Age” or the “Post Industrial Revolution.” Regardless, I want my Constitution back; because without it, we will continue to relinquish control of our government. This truth holds in spite of one’s political persuasion.

    The Supreme Court made the correct decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. While there are clearly some troubling implications, the court's embrace the 1st amendment is inspirational.

    Congress should move to regulate political spending along the lines suggested in Justice Kennedy's opinion: require FULL disclosure/disclaimers.

    Effort to influence elections are necessarily forward looking, and problems with synchronization and timing. No matter how much money is spent, it will always be impossible for voters to recall what they did tomorrow. Put differently, results may not be as expected.

    Nevertheless, the money makes the mare run, and the Earth yields her fruit to those who know how to fill their hands. For those who know not, there will be no condo, no BMW, no MBA. Without exception, all the people I know who seek to win political power are killing themselves to become the deep-pocketed special interests.

    Guess who recently said?:

    - ...I think this Citizens United case, which gave the corporations the ability to interfere in elections in a major way, through their money, puts us at risk of openly having a corporate-dominated government.

    Chris wrote, in part, "The court decision is "in particular humiliating and degrading" of the intelligence of...!"

    That's the OBVIOUS clue to the FACT of foreign manipulators being "in charge" - in what other civilized countries do the "politicians" use the "media" to constantly brainwash its citizens that they are "stupid"...?!

    (I could use the thesaurus to list all the other words, and a psych 101 textbook to project many other words, but after doing that kind of work, the post would the be cut and pasted by too many other "smart" bloggers :-))

    Posted by: Anna D in part ,
    "Smart"...they excluded all the incidents between 1-3 seconds...sigh."

    The hindsight, "If we only had known at the time... we would have not voted for ..."
    "Mr. Freedman, a military historian who sits on the inquiry's five-member
    panel, indicated in questioning that Bush had advised Blair he planned to topple
    Saddam Hussein EVEN if the despot cooperated with United Nations weapons inspectors."
    "Details of... correspondence between Blair and Bush... have not been released publicly!"
    The "FACT is really known, the neocon loyalty is with FOREIGN interests!"
    Chapter I. General Provisions of the Geneva Convention
    "Art. 3. In the case of armed conflict.... the following acts are and shall remain PROHIBITED at ANY TIME and in ANY PLACE whatsoever with respect to... persons: (a) violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture; (b) taking of hostages; (c) outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment;..."
    The court decision is "in particular humiliating and degrading" of the intelligence of...!

    Chris wrote, in part, "But the PEDAL is still "stuck in OVERDRIVE to the FLOOR" for disaster..."

    Speaking of which, did you hear how NIFSA (sp?)

    (seriously, how could every single government regulator agency be NOT regulating in the past decade??!! No wonder "government" always grows THE MOST when the neocons are the puppetmasters - they have to plant all their people in "management" positions so that they can be assured that their sociopathic and criminal behaviour is unchecked..."smart"...)

    massaged the data...? "Smart"...they excluded all the incidents between 1-3 seconds...sigh.

    Basically, there isn't an "independent" thinker in the USA who has not had their personal "going-off" button pressed by the neocon agenda...

    I get that tazored tribble "feeling" when they play "statistics" with all the REAL data that PROVES that they are creating hell on earth...

    And yes, neocon loyalty rests with FOREIGN interests - always. Once that FACT is really known, the rest of all their antics make complete sense.

    More misery for others =
    more money for ME ME ME

    Posted by: Anna D
    "Somehow, something went "wrong" with some financial decision regarding a
    toaster purchase somewhere in their past and that's why they HAVE NO FUTURE..."
    Who would have even known that "purchasing a toaster in their past" and sending
    it to technicians in Washington for repairs, that they would set "the house on FIRE!"
    First, we were told - "brainwash" It was the WAR, thousands killed and wounded,
    the BANKS, with millions of foreclosures and evictions, the ECONOMY, with
    millions of unemployed, then the GMC, CHRYSLER and now TOYOTA!
    But the PEDAL is still "stuck in OVERDRIVE to the FLOOR" for disaster
    and the court turned the "blind eye".
    The fraud, corruption and lies continue! Were these the desperation decisions?
    I think a doctor in the house may provide the "proper prescription..." to prevent
    further epidemic with much less than "2000 pages of Instructions!"

    To Whom It May Concern,
    The problem with our economy and our political system is that we have these huge Draconian blood suckers sucking the blood out of the economy and leaving their slim for the working people.
    It is the parasites people!
    The demand side of economics is being sucked dry.

    In the "shadow of darkness," at least I am not alone!

    Posted by: Chris

    Darkest before the dawn :-)

    Which is the time I got up today to start "work"...and too few hours of sleep...

    An amateur astronomy buddy of mine is preparing to commit millions of others being forced into a life review from the brainwashing that they somehow went "wrong" with some financial decision regarding a toaster purchase somewhere intheir past and that's why they HAVE NO FUTURE...

    He, unfortunatley, realized that NAFTA took away every job he ever created

    which led him to the desperation of buying a liquor store in an Ethnic neighborhood

    which led to his wife drinking herself to death

    and he has taken on responsibility for "killing" her through his "choices"...

    Was it wrong of me to convince him to work at killing "nafta" and the next scheme instead of himself...?

    "I'm DONE "politely" listening to the political mental..."
    I am not surprised, perhaps there are millions of the Americans that are "DONE."
    I have been "DONE" "listening" to their garbage for over 10 years.
    "When casinos declared bankruptcy..." It has been bankrupt.
    Regan was the worst in rolling the ball! It operates on "FIAT CURRENCY"
    and "CONFISCATION" with "183 banks so far foreclosed by the FDIC"
    and over "150 corporations in bankruptcy," and it is not over.
    Not a pretty picture. "Maven Predicts 10 More Years of Famine..."
    I breath "hell in let anger out" knowing to morrow will be the same garbage.
    "Brainwashing" - Check the WEB side

    You may have to copy and past.

    I must say THANK YOU, great response.
    In the "shadow of darkness," at least I am not alone!

    Hi Chris,

    Like you, I am keenly aware of the USE of both "politics" and "religion" to create a LAWLESS "government".

    The fact that Dr. Flowers gets arrested for being "naive"

    and the tea-baggers can do whatever the heck they want as a rabble-rousing MOB with PURE HATE SPEECH done up on their banners

    with the artistic brush strokes that any kindergarten teacher can identify as "sociopathic" and call a conference with the parent/s to figure out what the heck is going on...

    pretty much points to a state of "war"...and an ongoing war, at that...

    If we defeat the "terrorism" of totalitarian $$$ here on "sacred ground" on HOME, it'll be defeated everywhere on the planet.

    The CASH is flowing in the channels of currency of the drug lords and war lords so THEY can keep up the two jobs that never get outsourced to just ONE cheaper global locale -

    prostitution and mercenary "business"

    and the freekin' propaganda NEWS, even on PBS now, is brainwashing "we the people" that JOBS aren't going to be created anytime soon...isn't that SICK?

    We need to print up our own currency. "They" already KNOW that that ACT will be the start of our JUST WAR.

    Compare it to the immune system -- the stronger the immune system, the less "space" for disease to set up shop.

    As noted here and there by some bloggers, we need to unplug from "perception is reality"

    and take BACK reality.

    Reality belongs with the PRODUCERS in any "economic" system

    not with lying, thieving, murdering self-proclaimed "elite".

    I'm DONE "politely" listening to the political mental masturbation and the psycho-babble from psychos channeled through toasters and their below 90 IQ colorful parrots...

    It will very much depend on which part of the country you are in as to how the new currency takes hold...

    When casinos declared bankruptcy and shafted CIVIL ENGINEERS and many other REAL people,

    no one is playing by the D.C. "rules"...and even better, no one is there to be the enforcers for DE-REGULATION and PRIVITIZATION, either...too few of those delusionalists left to be an "army"...

    but we do have magicians and entertainers and architects and engineers and we can SEE who is pluto crazy before they SEE us...

    if D.C. can be one rigged slot machine, then that must be the NEW GAME, eh?

    You'd think that after 10,000 years of barbarian raids, we'd actually be good at stopping them at the gates...

    grandma noted 10 years ago that "computers" would turn the world upside down...

    Now how did a third grade school drop-out (war)

    from the eastern border of Poland (or Russia or Lithuania, they kept drawing up new lines)

    like Grandma

    KNOW who the 21st century thieving, lying and murdering BARBARIANS were going to BE

    before all the PhD geeks locked in mental masturbation minutia world believing they can turn GRAVITY into "energy"

    figured it out about "management"...?

    Posted by: Anna D

    "Chris...trying to save their USELESS "jobs" as controller of the tea bag
    "avatar" - the Head Barbarian...

    You should direct the question to the "JUSTICE SYSTEM" or to the
    authority with "POWER" that set up the SYTEM! I do not have, "POWER
    MONEY or GUNS" nor evil mind like the "murderess who killed the Czar..."
    or who the "czar was beheading..." or "the death of...the immigrant detained in
    Rhode Island jail two years ago!" As usual the "defendant seek to be dismissed
    on the grounds the staffers at the jail are CONTRACTORS!"

    "Get it...?"

    The elections have been pertaining in picking up who will be the
    "EXCECUTIONERS" and/or which party is in "POWER..!"
    "This is in fact just morphing into a people-who-care...;" "CARE..." Hm!

    With lost of saving - confiscation through corrupt Bankruptcy proceedings
    and since there are millions without work, facing foreclosure, eviction etc,
    I am not in position to save anything, let alone be "a controller...!"
    I am as simple as a "gladiator, defending his soul for the survivor in the amphitheater of.."
    As a member of the society, the taxes I/we pay are being use to "Constrain
    and/or denied" the “unalienable right to liberty, property, abridging free
    speech... etc." It is the "PART" that "must be SAVE" the "WILL of THE PEOPLE"
    if possible, at the ballot - by REFERNDUM!"


    "LAWRENCE LESSIG:we've got to begin to think about a constitutional
    change that makes possible or secures reform."

    LAWRENCE LESSIG: "Call a Convention."

    BILL MOYERS: "Call a Convention."

    It is a fact, "the different Religions and different political party" had not solved
    the social needs in the world. Changing the "name or the color of the lipstick"
    is not the solution.

    "Get it...?"

    Chris wrote, in part, "The only party I will be interested is the one that will place

    They're just morphing into a people-who-care, perception-is-reality SCHTICK, Chris...trying to save their USELESS "jobs" as controller of the tea bag "avatar" - the Head Barbarian...


    Who arrested the hooligans that launched "Krystal Nacht"? Or the murderers who killed the Czar...?

    Get it...?

    Posted by: Ernee Douglas

    "We have a name for our new party thanks to D.C. Eddy. The Demandside Party.
    Anybody want to add anything more to our platform?"

    The only party I will be interested is the one that will place
    It should be a "RIGHT and PREVELAGE" for every person to be able
    and FREE SPEECH" on ALL ISSUES, at the ballot!


    When I learned of the Court's decision, my first thought was that, in a convoluted way, it might spur Congress into taking real and serious action on campaign finance reform. With this decision, I feel Congress has been handed a mandate to prove beyond a reasonable doubt to all Americans, that their votes are the only ...votes that count. It's up to them, to self-regulate, to uphold their duties to the U.S Constitution and to we the people. If I don't see any significant congressional efforts towards this issue in 2010, I'm gonna form a peoples union.

    According to the material laws of physics

    LABOR is energy.

    Energy is currency.

    In the present madness

    LABOR is DEBT for the laborer

    And PROFIT for the madmen.

    Getting that big of a current - ALL LABOR on earth - to flow into their bellies - well...


    More misery for others =
    More money for ME ME ME

    BTW, they have NO PLAN for what happens after it's all in their pockets, do they?

    The GAME is merely to get it all and then proclaim themselves "masters of the universe" - and at the final table, on "god" of earth...let the pyramid building begin...

    Posted by: Ernee Douglas

    Maybe you should call it, "The Demandside Party". The Change Party has been a complete failure.
    The new party platform would be:
    Minimize profits for corporations.
    Provide equitable wages for the working people.
    Eliminate non-productive institutions.
    Eliminate lobbyists.
    Not allow corporation money to politicians.
    Provide "new money" to support the fiscal needs of our nation.
    Obsolve the national debt.
    It is obvious that the only way to fix our present situaton is to revamp the government, the corporations and the economic system.
    Government, industry and economics are intended to serve the people NOT the people serve man made institutions.


    * Oil Companies
    * Defense Contractors
    * Media Companies
    * Chemical Companies
    * Food Industry
    * Telecommunications
    * Electronics
    * Conglomerates
    * Pharmaceutical Companies
    * Banking Industry
    * Insurance Companies

    How are you and your community working to win political power for the people over deep-pocketed special interests?

    Our "High Court" is anything but Supreme; in my opinion they are not only a disgrace to the American People, but are the most dangerous Court we've had in decades. I only hope that President Obama and Congress have the guts and integrity to do all their power to rescind the damage done by our so called Supreme Court! God help us should this ruling be allowed to stand! Sounds like pre-Nazi Germany to me!

    It’s spring time for oligarchs, plutocrats, and the kleptocratic state.

    Posted by: Tom Shillock

    Yes Sir, but they are SCARY CRAZY.

    What MORAL, ETHICAL, and FINANCIAL OBLIGATION do we have to let them KEEP

    all the wealth that they stole (they went after Portugal and Greece today, among others)

    all the cash from their drug/weapons deals (about one trillion in USA $)

    and all the 35 Senate seats up for grabs this election year (19 "republicans", 16 "democrats")...?

    "...unless you become more watchful...and check this spirit of monopoly and thirst for exclusive privileges you will in the end find that the most important powers of Government have been given...away, and the control over your dearest interests has passed into the hands of these corporations."
    —Andrew Jackson, Farewell Address to America, 1837

    Tom Shillock 2-4 2:16pm Well thought out & Understandable--what to do?

    Paulson was on Charlie Rose promoting his new book on his heroic rescue of world finance. I'll never buy that booki!--at first I thought--then HOW ABOUT A BOOK BON FIRE!

    When Paulson first demanded $700 Billion in smAll unmarked bills, I thought--Crook! But, listening to him trying to respond to Charlie it seems he may be the poster boy for The Peter Principle! Man, was he way over his head! Another great appointment by Bush! (Way to go Hankie)

    Billy Bob Florida

    Far from facilitating free speech the supreme court decision attacks it in order to facilitate heavily financed “speech”. Perhaps a limiting case of the latter would be Ronald Reagan’s 1960s corporate financed TV monologues. But that’s not the form financed “speech” takes. Rather it takes the form of propaganda and hyperbole, of newspeak and double-speak, obfuscation, confusion and demagoguery over disinterested substantive argument, facts and truth. The court is trying to suffocate free speech because it is free, it need not be purchased and thus makes no economic contribution to GDP.

    The “free” speech the supreme court has facilitated is “free” in the sense in which stocks, bonds, real estate, autos, college and TV advertisements are free. Financed speech drowns out free speech. Free speech is a public good, financed speech is usually a private good. Financed speech is used to advance private interests usually at the expense of the commonweal.

    The decision also strikes a blow against individualism in favor of a society of interest groups. To the extent that any ordinary citizen can be heard she will have to contribute to an interest group whose values, messages and tactics correspond to hers, assuming such exists.

    The consolidation of electronic and print news especially since the 1980s has undermined free speech in favor of corporate speech and reactionary political and economic agendas. Yet corporate boards and managements are unaccountable to society and as the Great Recession lays bare they have thoroughly captured government. Managers have even taken to fleecing their shareholders and looting the corporations pretty much with impunity.

    The single-minded pursuit of corporate interests not only has undermined democratic society it has undermined capitalism itself. As John Bogle pointed out (Battle for the Soul of Capitalism) managers have disenfranchised shareholders qua owners. In a similar manner the court’s decision further disenfranchises Americans qua citizens. It’s spring time for oligarchs, plutocrats, and the kleptocratic state.

    Babette, "I said your question was "nearly" indecipherable...."

    And I took your JUDGEMENT as a possibility, so I diagramed the sentence just to be sure and sure enough, it was correctly structured.

    Imagine what kind of world this will become when the only way we LIVE with one another is through the retarded tactic of calling the "teacher" stupid because she isn't buying the psych ops "conspiracy" RANT launched as a weapon of mass DISTRACTION

    from the FACT they NO ONE actually knows anymore

    HOW to "create" jobs...!

    But wait, are you getting PAID, Babette?

    With my tax $$$...?

    To INSULT me for not believing YOU...?

    Exxon/Mobil is NOT Howard Zinn !

    You appear to have difficulty understanding and retaining what you read, Anna. Let's hope this helps: I said your question was "nearly" indecipherable; furthermore, I answered it with a resounding "Yes."

    So you are obsessing over nothing and your ranting and raving grows irksome.

    I won't delve into your "groundhog divination" analogy nor your lumping together "free will" and "right." I'll leave that up to some other unfortunate passerby.

    For those interested Youtube "The Quigly Formula."


    Queen Ozma and the good witch Glinda of Oz told me that the "skeeters" and mostly " the flat heads living here in Wichita and the other Quidling counties of the Land, are indeed in league with a bunch of nasty hammerheads who live here and who have denied all of us in OZ good debate, health care, and who have systemtaically put a spell on all of us especially those who live in the Emerald city under the rule of the Cochers who, like the zombies they are, carry their brains in cans and like to mostly say "no" at the expense of our democracy and freedom. Dorothy has come out of retirement to launch a protest against these knuckle heads who just need a bit of a kick in the buns.

    Dr. Dorothy Oz. Grasslands ThinkTank

    Anna D.

    A corporation is an organization; it is not a Person.
    The conservative logic Of the Supreme Court Judges is anything but logical; it is also not rational.
    People who do not understand the need for logical conclusions are down right dangerous.

    Then there is the liberal logic as follows:
    My toaster toasts my bread just right.
    I love my toaster.
    Therefore; I should be able to marry my toaster.

    Without understanding that premises have to be consistent with reality and that conclusion must follow from the premises;
    arriving at wrong conclusions can cause fatal errors.

    Well, Babette, I broke down the sentence into Subject, verb, object and it is written correctly:

    DO you think

    "the american people"

    have the free will "right"

    to question how sane it is

    to let a gang of groundhogs

    divining some "religious" mumbo jumbo

    be in charge of "foreign policy"...?

    It was Groundhog Day yesterday...a reminder that "divining" happens everywhere.

    Please feel free to make any grammar adjustments to the sentence as you wish - maybe change the verb tense in some cases to match the stratosphere your "theories" come from...?

    In response to your nearly indecipherable question, Anna: Yes.

    Doesn't change the fact Moyers is a member of the CFR. PBS is too.

    Now, please, settle down.


    Babette, "Mature people will (or won't) watch it and can surely come to their own conclusion on the subject."

    Got it, official media psychobabblists (conspiracy nuts) deployed today - all psychobabble, all day..."oops, immature people figured out we do NOT know how to "create" alert"

    Imagine how Israel would look after a Haiti-like earthquake...but god's chosen people haven't no worries...keep that eye on Iran...

    Quick REALITY question, Babette.

    DO you think "the american people" have the free will "right" to question how sane it is to let a gang of groundhogs divining some "religious" mumbo jumbo be in charge of "foreign policy"...?

    Is it 2010 or 10 BC...?

    Hey Anna D. you sound pretty hysterical yourself. All I said was that Moyers is a member of the CFR and suggested an interesting video. Mature people will (or won't) watch it and can surely come to their own conclusion on the subject.



    Posted by: babette

    It's all a "hoax" - stuff like The Quigley Formula and it's grandfather madness - The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion - all made up delusional crap spewed out from the CRIMINAL MIND.

    But since we can see evidence of them being serious about taking out certain genetic strains - let's stay laser beam focused on the FACT that psychotics and their spunking sociopaths

    are deciding to take out everyone who does not bend to THEIR WILL.


    Look at the hell on earth we already have with the scales having tipped too far into the psycho population zone...

    Personally, I focus on how SCIENCE proves that what they are trying to do is UNDOABLE...why else is there this screaming hysteria in mass media?

    LYING about the science with ever increasing nonsence they call "thery"...?

    I understand the arguments on both sides of this issue, and I tend to agree with glenn Greenwald. However, I would really like to understand why we are stuck with this two party system; there have been a few references made about this, but I have not been able to find any real discussion. Looks like everyone is avoiding that discussion; why does Richard Trumka believe that the AFL-CIO can only choose between Democrats and not so bad Republicans?

    Moyers is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. See: THE QUIGLY FORMULA parts 1-8.


    "I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied
    corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial
    by strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country. "
    - Thomas Jefferson

    A PERSON is in actuality a pure conscious entity; acquires a mind according to individual physiology and environmental experiences. There is no scientific formula to describe personal consciousness. Still it is evident this has been the source of all progressive change. Our assent was enigmatic; there was no blurprint. Overall direction was toward realization of truth and justice--entities academia can't define.
    A corporation is a concrete entity, which can be defined; and is confined within a specific perspective and direction; to separate from its basic structure would end its existence.
    So to give a corporation the right of FREE speech seems ludicrous,--because a corporation follows a specific program; is not an entity that can become free.
    Where a natural individual can separate from its acquired environmental mind; can become FREE to follow personal convictions; as did our founders and ALL who 'made a difference'.
    There can be no literal interpretation on this issue when a 'person' and 'freedom' continue to exist only as a personal conscious sense.
    Response to this decision seems evidence not the word of the law, but the 'common sense' of the people is what is---and always will be--SUPREME.

    The battle line between Main Street and Wall Street has been written into the history books not by Progressives but by a partisan SCOTUS. The radically biased 5/4 decision of activist judges like Alito have opened the flood gates of corporate campaign money supporting anti-union candidates and in doing so they have forfeited the moral high ground. The need for solidarity in the labor movement has never been more clear or more critical. No longer is organizing just an avenue to a decent living wage, respect, economic security and professionalism or expanding the middle class. Today the battle to earn the right for collective bargaining is a defining battle for our democratic process.

    We created the corporation and gave it life, it is time to kill it an leave it behind lifeless as it became an evil greedy beast who devoured the soul of our country.

    The way out of this disgusting Supreme court decision is to outlaw all lobbyists and outlaw the entity known as the corporation. Nip it in the bud!

    Jerry Schwarz, opined in part, "It repeatedly uses "association" to describe the entities with 1st amendment rights."

    Right, Jerry. And here's how your confusion regarding THINGS and HUMAN BEING was discussed on the show, cut and pasted from the transcript:

    "MONICA YOUN; And there's a very strange alternative reality aspect to the decision. It's like you're reading a work of science fiction. At one point Justice Kennedy says, "Government has muffled the voices of corporations." And-

    ZEPHYR TEACHOUT: No, no. It's worse. He says, "muffled the most," and then he quotes from Scalia, "the sort of best advocates for the most important interests in our economy."

    MONICA YOUN; And so, the idea being that we don't know what Exxon Mobil thinks about climate change. We don't know what Goldman Sachs thinks about financial regulation, because those corporations have somehow been unable to make their viewpoint known on the Hill."

    Indeed, when a HUMAN BEING is having a "living", "loving" relationship with a toaster, for example, the toaster in the relationship is completely beholden to the WILL of the Human Being.

    Are you saying that the Supreme Court belives that the Human Being has been muzzled in it's relationship with the toaster?

    Or are you saying that the toaster has been muzzled in influencing the will of the Human Being?

    Indeed, "crazy" can be "fun" mental masturbation.

    Thank you again for the Journal. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Ms. Youn for her clear assessment of the recent Supreme Court decision. I've been wanting to thank her since I saw her analysis on the NewsHour. Keep up the good work.

    Marie Isenburg

    To Ross Petitto:
    I have seen the majority of Americans and the world misled by the media time and time again.
    I am not being a snob just a realist who witnessed the impact of false advertising or propaganda on the mass population.

    Propaganda works whether you like to admit it or not. History proves me right.

    Corporations are not people. Money is not speech. Reality trumps legal theory

    American Programmer,
    You've been able to see through the propaganda that 100 years of lobbying has wrought. Don't be a snob. Give the rest of America credit also. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was booed from the stage at Tehran U. and invited to speak at Columbia a month later. It's who we are. We invite dialogue...not suppress it. If we can decipher his diatribe we can decipher a multi-million dollar commercial campaign. The Moyers show and threads like this are Americas backbone. Not protectionist laws.

    R Petito2-1-7:03am Your BHO DENIED my dem. FL primary vote! You 'Obama-No-Matter-Whats' are 1st cousins to the 'Say-No' Party.
    How do you feel about Pro Choice? OK before conception?
    How about Pro Life? OK after conception?
    Can a fetus survive without the mother? How about 1 day old, or 1 week old, or 1 month old? Where do you draw the line?
    OR, are you just a PRO- Corporationer?

    Your lie is 'Inconsistant'!
    On the one hand--but on the other hand--yeh.

    Get real!

    Billy Bob Florida

    To Ross Petitto:

    Who I fear most are people who accept corruption as normal and acceptable. How can Americans decipher what is truth and not misdirection when all we hear is corporate propaganda from news and media organizations funded by corporate advertisements?
    How can Americans make a correct decision when all they hear is mistruths to benefit the mega wealthiest economic agendas? This is what we been dealing with for ages. Everything from globalizations lies, protectionist lies, Tea Partier lies, Swiftboat lies, FOX news lies, WMD lies, the list goes on and on. All to make money at the expense of the American taxpayer. The corrupt rich write the play book and we need to get this corrupt influence out of our government. Campaign finance reform is the first place to start.

    When we fear who's speaking or how loud they're speaking, then we have bigger problems than a Supreme Court decision. When we fear who participates in an election, we have lost the ideal that formed this country. Americans are or should be intelligent enough to decipher 'any' message and decide on their matter how much influence was behind a candidate. And if a candidate silences his message for fear of a corporation's retaliation, they're an exposed weakling. I'm amazed at the fear in these threads. BHO was a grassroots candidate. His first acts were defending and protecting Americas largest corporations. Why? They're vital. They belong in the electoral dialogue.

    I am a conservative who supports public television. Occasionally I watch Bill Moyers Journal to get the liberal point of view, and yet isn't it supported by the CORPORATION for Public Broadcasting? Good grief.

    A lot of these comments (and Bill Moyers himself) seem to think that the decision has something to do with the "personhood" of corporations. Can someone point out where the opinion ( ) says anything like that? It repeatedly uses "association" to describe the entities with 1st amendment rights.

    I'm undecided about whether I agree with the opinion, but I really don't like to see so many smart people making such an incorrect assumption.

    I am a conservative who supports public television. Occasionally I watch Bill Moyers Journal to get the liberal point of view, and yet isn't it supported by the CORPORATION for Public Broadcasting? Good grief.

    Darkest days in the History of our country:

    The assassinations of Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., Perl Harbor, 9/11, and this decision by the The Supreme Court. It is now official, our government is officially for sale. The only open question is the the price tag.

    Hats off to the Republican Party, they have successfully manipulated the abortion issue to accomplish their real agenda.

    Mission Accomplished!

    The Supreme Court is BOTH


    and JURY.

    When does a Judge get to overturn a unanimous JURY DECISION?

    In this case they overturned having a JURY (the HUMAN "voice")altogether, didn't they?!

    I was the first post back in September :-)

    Still think it's a big bowl of crazy...

    What is getting REALLY strange (as if it wasn't already STRANGE) with this last leg of power getting into the same "spirit" as the other two - legislative and's the realization that what the game IS


    "...everybody wants to rule the world..."

    The money-grubbing, the murdering (war), the POLITICS

    it's not about anything that can ever actually be REAL...

    They're all fighting to be the LONE VOICE in the cosmos - the WILL that dominates ALL OTHERS...

    Sorry, but that REALLY IS the inside "special" world of the mind of a psychotic.

    They're all NUTZ. And we're all starting to sound just as nutz by contorting OUR logic to try and mathc the "logic" of the power-mad...

    No more 5-4 rulings - unanimous or go back to the room and hash it out...when was the last time there was even a 9-0 ruling...?

    The Supreme Court Ruling gives credence to what the corporations can do with our lives.

    They've made us small, they will make us microscopic.

    If they all operated legitimately, with the public well being at heart, then this doesn't mean much.

    But when they rely on you and me taxpayer for bail-outs, while buying our elected officials, then something is terribly wrong with this picture.

    Have you seen a C.E.O. lately?

    Where are they hiding?

    Come out and have a beer with us.

    We really want to get to know you better.

    If Corporations are people than animals are people, machines are people, garbage cans are people.
    I think we just lost our identity. In fact I think we all know it. The question is what can we do about it?
    The powers to be have destroyed the means to meaningful language. It has all become incoherent.
    Our education system is a dismal failure. People are no longer able to understand the difference between true and false statements. Reality has become meaningless.
    We need to know the difference between reality and fiction in order to survive.

    If corporations are going to run ads for a particular candidate each ad should have a disclaimer that is shown more than 10 seconds citing exactly who funded the ad and that it is an ad from the board of directors and NOT the people who work for that corporation. Congressmen should not be able to accept campaign funds from corporations regardless of free speech.

    Corporations are not moral agents as individuals are. They are legally required to adopt, and protect their bottom line on behalf of their stockholders. Within the bounds of the law, they must exploit the environment, resources, and people without consideration given to long term consequences (to the environment, to our social fabric), and without consideration of any moral questions. The danger of allowing them to pour arbitrary amounts of money into our elections is clear. They can corrupt the battle for ideas between people in many different ways. For example, they can drown out the truth of an issue by saturating the airways (and other media outlets) with distracting, and irrelevant material. Or with material that addresses the subject at hand, but so completely distorts the facts, as to make it impossible for a listener to discern the truth. They can intimidate politicians unfriendly to their cause, and buy politicians who are money-hungry immoral men. They can do that today of course too, but this ruling gives them yet another means of doing so. The dangers are almost too obvious, and too numerous to mention, or so it seems to me. The right of free speech is one granted to individuals, not corporations. Corporations are emergent phenomena, that bear little resemblance (especially morally) to the individuals that comprise them. Some may say that the morality of a corporation will stem from the morality of its individual members, but this is too easily corrupted. Conformity is the law in a corporation. Speak out too strongly against the corporation's interests (even in the interest of a more pressing/higher/farsighted good), and your career could be over that day.
    I suspect that this additional political power given to corporations will shift the balance of power to the super rich to a degree sufficient to destroy the middle class, and with it the American dream.

    The decision suggests that money has penetrated places where it doesn't belong. Seems seditious to me.

    Hi,a few thoughts:
    * perhaps this is what it will take to reclaim a bi-partisan congress ...
    * just because a cooperation runs an election ad telling viewers how to vote
    does not mean people will obey; in fact there may be a double edged response of an opposite "how dare you" vote and an answer of closing the collective pocketbooks of "we the people".

    I will not vote anymore! This is not a democracy!
    We have been sold out.
    Year after year, piece by piece. There is nothing left.
    Posted by: Mon Kowalki

    I agree, "it is not DEMOCRACY!" It is as close as can be to a "fascist state!"
    Some are very "independent" and they vote, not for the independent or other party,
    but simply for the best "social, economic and consumer issues - justice!"
    The intent is and must be that everybody benefits.
    The most qualified person in the last election Ralph Nader was ignored.
    He spend his entire life working for the benefits of the consumer. His life time was
    devoted fighting the auto industries for a better products.
    People could not recognize or forgot that they did benefits from his work.
    They voted for one of the other two party. Nether one had the experience in social
    economic and consumer justice.
    It is very much like having two baskets of rotten apples.
    Which one wood you pick. Does it make any difference?
    We got "CHANGE" deeper whole, more of the same, hot air, empty hopes,
    and empty promises.
    "No one will do it for you!"
    It will be a real change when the PEOPLE are EMPOWER to express their

    To Brian Taylor:
    Good Post.

    Again, Corporations are business or money making machines, not citizens. They do not deserve the right to use their pooled mega wealth to drown out voices in our democracy or republic for their own economic gains.

    here's an excerpt from the notes i am making toward a book i intend to vanity-publish one of these years: i figured that it might do some good to lay them on you, and maybe your panelists, at this historical juncture, that someone might soften the field a bit with an absolute answer to that which is often purveyed as an ambiguous question.

    i'm not a blogger, and hope to never endeavor to so teach pigs to sing, (it could only hope to frustrate me and annoy the pigs,) but an illumination presented particularly to intellectuals with influence just might proliferate effectually... :

    The course to reforming campaign-finance (as well as practically everything else that’s plaguing our governments today,) is very simple, very easy, very discrete, very clear and quite straightforward. There are no logical ambiguities regarding it, except to those blinded by the snow being strewn about by the Corporations. It is a direct three-stage approach :

    Firstly, we must recognize that corporations are not people, and therefore are not in any legalistic way, shape or form, citizens; and, therefore, have no rights in the process of determining the Law that governs people and their corporations, and everything else not Private.

    (The only purpose under the sun for government at all is to protect the Person and his privacy[/property] from the otherwise-Free Market – all markets: both military and civilian, both foreign and domestic, both black and white, and both immediate and ambient in their transgression. We simply cannot allow the Market to participate in Government any more than we allow Al’Queda to participate in the determination of U.S. national security policy.)

    The Corporations may, of course, publish to any extent that they care; but no corporation may Lobby Government, at all, except as described in Secondly, below.

    Secondly, we must recognize that the People do have a right to create and support non-profit corporations for the express specific purposes of Lobbying Government. Only Persons and these Lobbyist-Corporations may lobby the government; and these corporations may be financially and directionally supported only by individual Person-contributions. (A person becomes, dispositionally, a Corporation for these purposes upon, and for the duration of, any corporate board membership, including membership of the board of any Lobbyist-Corporation – Membership of one Lobbyist-Corporation board precludes membership of or contribution to another.)

    Any person may distribute his fiduciary limit as broadly as he desires among all such Lobbyist-Corporations, but sum contribution per Person per annum is limited by law. [Only empirical experimentation might determine this limit, and whether contribution is made through personal funding or by government voucher.]

    NO shell-game shenanigans, either financially or dispositionally; under pain of personal criminal liability.

    And Thirdly, we must recognize that, to its utmost desire, the Corporation may lobby the Voter, through publication, to financially support/oppose any particular lobbyist-corporations with which they might identify; but they may not lobby the Lobbyist-Corporation directly, nor Government at all.

    The Corporation also may not support/oppose any political-party or candidate financially, nor lobby the Voter to support/oppose any particular political candidate by name, nor publicly associate any political party or candidate with any political value; though they may publicly support/oppose any political value upon which they might look favorably/unfavorably.

    (So long as no corporate-compensation is involved, the Person may lobby, without limit, Government, Lobbyist-Corporation, and Voter alike, both publicly and privately, of course.)

    The Political-Party must not be confused with the Lobbyist-Corporation: the Political-Party is a non-Lobbyist Corporation, and has no more business in the Lobby than any other non-Lobbyist corporation. (They’re already on the Floor, for cryin’-out-loud.)

    ‘Nuff said: done and done. (It, of course, will never happen for us. . .)

    in response to Mon Kowalki, "I will not vote anymore . . ." I feel your pain. This SC decision makes me so angry, but I have to tell you, this is what happens when we, as a country, "bail out" Wall Street and the big banks. It does not make them more appreciative or compassionate. Instead they become greedier and less appreciative and they get their minions (the SC) to do their bidding for them.

    To Ross Petitto:
    "I can't beieve the framers would have denied freedom of participation against any tax paying entity…… Corporations pay taxes. And get it right...we are a Republic, not a democracy. I put my trust in the ballot box...not the television box."

    The argument here is whether any tax paying entity deserves representation in Congress not whether we are a Republic or Democracy. A republic and a democracy are identical in every aspect except one. In a republic the sovereignty is in each individual person. In a democracy the sovereignty is in the group.

    There are plenty of foreign nationals working in this country paying taxes but do not get to vote because they are NOT citizens.

    Again, Corporations are business making machines, not citizens. They do not deserve the right to use their pooled mega wealth to drown out voices in our democracy or republic. Their CEOs and shareholders already have to right to VOTE. Maybe you need to live in China, or another corrupted regime where your thoughts of inequality equals the amount of money you have. In this country, the amount of your bank account should not give you more influence that is political especially if you are a paper created Corporation.

    First in answer to Ross Petito - we are a democracy - a representative democracy. We are a republic also - its not an either or question. That was a misrepresentation that Republicans threw around during the Bush v. Gore fiasco in 2000.
    I think this ruling will go down as one of the worst in history. I hope that our democracy can hold together through it. Unless amended by new laws soon Hugo Chavez or Vladimir Putin, through their oil companies, which happen to have U.S. subsidiaries, will be able to spend as much as they like to influence elections - after all they are paying taxes.

    The ruling by the Court concerning political speech is not surprising. Santa Clara County in 1886 in essence declared corps persons. What's changed?

    I can't beieve the framers would have denied freedom of participation against any tax paying entity. I think the decision was a correct one. When the paranoia disipates about the amount of funds invested in a campaign and realization of American Constitutiality is practiced, we all gain. This was the intentions of the framers... free speech for all tax payers. Corporations pay taxes. And get it right...we are a Republic, not a democracy. I put my trust in the ballot box...not the television box.

    I will not vote anymore! This is not a democracy!
    We have been sold out.
    Year after year, piece by piece. There is nothing left.
    Remember our Founding Fathers?
    We are part of Empire of Power and Money, that uses War as a tool.

    Today, trans-national corporations are economically larger than many nations. In 2008, for example, Walmart and Exxon-Mobile had annual revenues greater than the entire Gross Domestic Producs (GDP) of Greece, Denmark, and Argentina. These huge corporations operate globally and are loyal to no one but themselves. They are, in essence, a new kind of foreign power. We would not allow the governments or other nations the unlimited right to influence our elections through massive campaign spending, and neither should we allow trans-national corporations to do so.

    What do you think?

    If you were a Justice on the Supreme Court, how would you have voted in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission? Explain. Being a person of "common sense" I would have voted against giving corporations the rights a citizen. The simple argument is:
    [If one believes corporations should have the same right to free speech as a citizen, should not corporations also have the right to vote in elections?]

    Should Congress move to pass new laws regulating political spending from corporations and unions? If so, what would you suggest?
    Simple answer is no!! What good would it do? The supreme court would only declare them unconstitutional. My fear is our supreme court may have become partisan. The fact that the majority vote of the court, (Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas, Roberts, Alito) were all appointed by either Ronald Reagan or one of the Bushes and the minority vote (Breyer, Soto, Ginsberg, Stevens)apppointed by either Obama or Clinton except for Justice Stevens apppointed by Gerald Ford. The only way the court will change is by new appointment. This change will either increase the present majority and decrease the minority or change the minority into the majority and the majority into a minority


    Corporations have to pay taxes--of course. So, I guess corporations could have 1 vote, but only 1, not IBM 1 billion votes, Bob's Sandwich Shop 3, and me just 1.

    Boy! WEAVING this Web is not so simple.

    So, only registered people voters can make financial, etc. contributions to any political purpose---Hey, SIMPLE again.

    But, Washington probably has So Smart People that Mainstreet can not understand why 'they' want it voluminous, smokey & complicated.

    Mainstreeters have their heads in the sand, so cloud the lies & they will never know they have been scammed.

    Billy Bob Florida

    Oh yeah, just found this on the net:

    Taking last week's Supreme Court ruling to its logical conclusion, progressive P.R. firm Murray Hill Inc. is running for Congress in Maryland's 8th Congressional District as the first "corporate person" to exercise its new constitutional right. Using a "designated human" to sign paperwork, the company plans to spend "top dollar" in the campaign.

    "It's our democracy - we bought it, we paid for it, and we're going to keep it," said Murray Hill Inc. "The business of America is business, as we all know. But now, it's the business of democracy too." True or not?

    Corporations seem to be getting more rights that were set aside or individuals as stated in the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

    If corporations have the same rights as people should we allow them to be put on ballots at some future date. What to level this playing field? Should the average Joe incorporate himself, then run for office?

    There is already too much of a mixture of business and government in this country.

    Another Lincoln quote:
    "We, the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts--not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow men who pervert the Constitution."

    We the people and not We the Corporations

    I figured this Supreme Court decision was a done deal the minute I heard how the Court reached out to raise and create its own issue to be decided.
    Before that, I had feared a different route to supreme money power.
    I imagined in a few years that someone would become worth $200 billion dollars (i.e. just 2X Gates' worth) and then spend $50 billion of that to become President.
    Since Arianna Huffington's ex-husband spent around $50 million to become senator (he lost) and Jon Corzine spent more than that twice to become governor (won one, lost one), and Michael Bloomberg spent about a quarter billion over his three elections, does this seem so far fetched?
    The Supreme Court decision just gives this malignant process a little forward nudge.
    Ron Thompson

    The sentiment in the Lincoln quote (jan 31, 12:36 pm)by American Programmer rings perfectly true, but the words and form of reasoning don't. Are you willing to give the specific cite?
    Ron Thompson

    One reason 'conservatives' can so brazenly
    defend this decision is that they have been outrageously successful in framing the major political debates as Big Government vs Individualism. This is, in many ways, irrational.
    If the debate is framed as Big Government vs Big Corporations (especially Big Bank Corporations), then we wouldn't have this absurdity of Corporations and their defenders getting away with equating them with human individuals.
    But to see the debate this way means giving up the deeply embedded illusion and delusion that private individuals count as much, in terms of political power, as huge private institutions, especially corporations.
    And so myth trumps fact, and renders discussion surreal.
    Ron Thompson

    Words of Abraham Lincoln:
    "The money powers prey upon the nation in times of peace and conspire against it in times of adversity. It is more despotic than a monarchy, more insolent than autocracy, and more selfish than bureaucracy. It denounces as public enemies, all who question its methods or throw light upon its crimes. I have two great enemies, the Southern Army in front of me and the Bankers in the rear. Of the two, the one at my rear is my greatest foe.. corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money powers of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until the wealth is aggregated in the hands of a few, and the Republic is destroyed."

    Somebody have Justices Alito and Roberts publically read this out loud to the American Public then explain how their decision DOES NOT contribute to the tyranny of the U.S. Corporation against our Congress.

    What the Court ruling highlights is that there can be only one solution - government funding of all federal campaigns. Until we force our elected officials to take private money out of politics, this problem is not going away. Here's a thought, all federal and local campaigns use PBS exclusively!!!

    Okay, so the "mystery" of how the dream-like state of thinking that perceives that a "corporation" is really a Supreme Being with super-human, special "rights" conferred by the Money God has been solved

    Logially, we have an "operational" problem.

    The Supreme Court has TWO roles - Judge and JURY.

    But they don't play by the same rules as a JURY - meaning that before a sentence (AKA "interpretation" :-)) is decreed from above


    Especially when throwing out 100 years of precedence...

    Yes, corporations have enjoyed personhood, particularly in terms of the First Amendment right of free speech, in the judgment of all courts since 1886,(detailed above in Sanford Russell's post.) This information is available online; i found it some time ago because i simply could not understand how corporations could continue to be given free speech rights. They are not people. It's that simple. They are structures created for business purposes. Despite the fact that the so-called ruling was not a ruling, it has been used to back up subsequent rulings and probably is referred to in law schools without anyone taking a close look at it. How can the Supreme Court not know the truth of this misinterpretation when so many of us without specialized legal schooling do? No doubt many law students have noticed the problem as well. Why does it continue? Has to be a combination of lies and money. Money is power, corporations have it, and the greedy cooperate. Bill Moyers has shown us the amazing sums corporate lobbyists bring to Washington. It's like putting ads on the Super Bowl--corporatons pay the outrageous prices for time because the ads work. Similarly, they keep taking money to Washington because they see success in influencing legislation.

    Maybe this court ruling by the so-called Conservative justices giving corporations and labor unions a "green light" to make any campaign contribution freely is not so bad after all.

    Personally, I had no idea that state judges were chosen by election rather than strictly appointed by the governor and confirmed by the legislature. I also learned they weren't always elected but once were appointed, but corrupt state governors were appointing judges hand-picked by powerful corporations. Bye-they-way when was the last time you voted in a judicial elect? If you are like me, never.

    Anyway, this Supreme Court ruling lets us truly know how politicized is the highest court in the land, even without public election of justices.

    What I'm trying to say is the (multi-national) corporations must be very nervous. Something must not be going right for them. People are very unhappy with corporations (at the present moment) yet they open-handedly pursue greater control over elected officials. If their power were as great we most Americans believe they wouldn't need this boon just granted them by the court.

    I have heard on PBS and it appears true that when in power republican administrations staff all levels of the government (and apparently the judiciary) with incompetent people--essentially degrading government from within.

    Sometime things have to get worse before they get better. At-least now ordinary people who are normally detached have an excuse to sober up and get involved in civic life.

    "If your not at the table, your on the menu."

    Free speech is about saying things not buying things...
    Why would we want a Monopolycracy?
    Not only that; free speech does not include free false statements, intentional mislabeling and slanderous accusations.
    With freedom comes responsibility. When there is incompetence and no accountability; everyone is at risk.
    A fool and his life are soon parted.

    The supreme court decision is, in fact, against the First Amendment - as it will prohibit regular citizens from being heard - because the large & rich corporations will block them, one way or another.

    The day of the supreme court decision (January 22, 2010) will be written in History books as the day the democracy in the US died, and the big fall of the great empire began.
    The truth is that this fall has begun long ago, and what we see is the snow ball already rolling fast.

    Well, hell, if dollars are votes, I guess I'm just plain speechless.

    What do folks expect when they buy Chinese goods from Wal-Mart to "save a few dollars a week"? They deserve what they're going to get.

    Actually, what do the rich expect? Do they really think they can hold out forever once the shit hits the fan?

    I cut and pasted this from the ongoing discussion started after the Sept 4, 2009 episode - "Balancing Big Money and Free Speech" because it is useful information:

    The present court, and ones previous, relied on the 1885 case Santa Clara County vs. Southern Pacific Railroad in affirming that corporations are persons protected under the 14th amendment. This is what Thom Hartmann has to say (search Internet: Thom’s Corporate Personhood rant, 09 September 2009):

    …actually the court did not rule that corporations were persons, but they have been claiming that ever since then because the clerk of the court, John Chandler Bancroft Davis, former President of the Newburg and New York railroad, wrote into a head note – the commentary on the case – which has no legal standing, a quote from the chief justice who had since died, he was dying of congestive heart failure during the year the proceedings happened, he died the next year. This was published two years later. He wrote that the chief justice said, “a corporation is a person and therefore entitled to protection under the 14th amendment.” When nobody knows if the chief justice said that. Even if he did, it doesn’t matter. It’s not the case. (Thom Hartmann)

    And so five members of today’s Supreme Court have handed over the country to the corporations based on a clerk’s unbinding commentary in a head note to the case.
    Posted by: Sanford Russell

    Thanks, Sanford, for some history instead of histrionics :-)

    Marvelous. And who will you invite to this dandy little shindig you're dreaming up for us all? Every leftist twit academic for miles around will be bleating at the door to be let in. "What about the wyminist perspective?" they'll shriek, as they claw their way in. What's the matter, Sanford? Isn't the "living, breathing" make-it-a-statist-sockpuppet strategy working out for you anymore?

    Marvelous. And who will you invite to this dandy little shindig you're dreaming up for us all? Every leftist twit academic for miles around will be bleating at the door to be let in. "What about the wyminist perspective?" they'll shriek, as they claw their way in. What's the matter, Sanford? Isn't the "living, breathing" make-it-a-statist-sockpuppet strategy working out for you anymore?

    Marvelous. And who will you invite to this dandy little shindig you're dreaming up for us all? Every leftist twit academic for miles around will be bleating at the door to be let in. "What about the wyminist perspective?" they'll shriek, as they claw their way in. What's the matter, Sanford? Isn't the "living, breathing" make-it-a-statist-sockpuppet strategy working out for you anymore?

    The majority justices went beyond their scope in four ways:  first, they ignored precedent; second, they ignored the precept of avoiding a constitutional question, if possible, and then when necessary, ruling on the narrowest constitutional issue that would address the conflict in the case; third, they ignored the Preamble of the Constitution, which is just as binding upon them and the other branches as is any section of any article that follows, and for which the stage for all that follows is set by its proclamation:

    “We the People of the United States [not corporations, and corporations are of the state in which they are chartered, not of the United States], in order to [skip to the relevant clause] Secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

    “We the People... do ordain and establish,” the Founders wrote, not the corporations; “for our posterity,” they wrote, not the posterity of corporations.  The posterity of corporations, parent companies, are units.

    And lastly, the Court majority ignored the Declaration of Independence, which lays the foundation for the Constitution, and which, if there is any doubt as to the interpretation of any part of, the Declaration is a necessary and proper arbiter, which in its second paragraph, states:

    “WE hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness—That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed...”

    Corporations are not “Men.”  Capitalization, by the way, is quoted here in both documents as it was written by the Founders, providing the emphasis which they intended in that literary style of their day.  Corporations are not endowed by the “Creator” which is capitalized, or that which created “Men” (and Women).  Corporations do not pursue “Happiness.”  They pursue profits for their owners, who are men and women, and other organizations, so when they speak, they do so with the motive of profit, which is not the voice of “Men,” who are the “Governed” (capitalized), as those voices are Consensually heard, through the vote (which the Court majority corrupted with its ruling), in a society based upon the precepts of “popular sovereignty” or “democracy,” as is provided by America’s charters and subdued by the Court majority’s campaign-funding ruling.

    Popular sovereignty (also spelled “sovranty”) is the birth child of the Declaration of Independence.  It means that government power and authority is vested in and derived from the People, not corporations, and that government acts according to the will of the People, again, not corporations.  Popular sovereignty is one of the three pillars of democracy, along with political liberty and political equality, all of which are (or were) embodied within the protections and guarantees written into the amendments and articles of the Constitution.  Corporations cannot attain or aspire to political liberty or equality with “Men,” under either the Declaration or the Constitution, and that the Court’s majority chose to do so is what makes their ruling an aberrant abortion of those documents and the intent of the Founders who struggled so eloquently well with their genius to write them.

    But this is what you get when an ignorant president (Bush) appoints a conservative-Republican majority to be led by a relative kid as Chief Justice, whose confirmation was in the hands of that president’s conservative-Republican, rubber-stamp Senate, creating an activist majority that abuses the power of the Court, while their congressional peers moan and groan about the activism of the “liberal” Court appointed by Democratic presidents.  The real harm done should now be as apparent as it so well fits into this closing, that the Court failed in its primary responsibility:  to stand for the Constitution, outside of all political considerations.

    Check out our webpage. There you will learn about the atrociities committed by the Seated Leaders of this Nation!

    Soon, things will get better, of that there is no Doubt Whatsoever!

    Watch your local News, and NBC News!


    ...that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain--that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom--and that the government of the Corporation, by the Corporation, for the Corporation, shall not perish from the earth.

    To Patrick Kellmeyer:
    "It's pretty simple. Once you tax an entity like a corporation, you require that it should have a representative voice under the Constitution."

    That is totally ridiculous logic, so everybody that pays a sales tax when buying a product should get representation in Congress as well. Get real.

    Corporations have always had rights as "legal persons," giving them certain limited rights for business purposes such a making contracts, enforcing them in court, right of self-governance, right to hire & fire employees, etc. But this ruling by the Supreme Court grants them CONSTITUTIONAL rights like free speech granted only to living, breathing CITIZENS. This has gone TOO FAR!

    ... China has figured out how capitalism works, and Uncle Sam could take a lesson. Our stimulus is put on credit card. China's is paid for in cash. The US has a capital gains tax of 15% going to 20%, while China has lowered theirs to Zero percent! Their economy this next year will grow 2 to 3 time as fast as ours, and take another 300 million people out of poverty like they have done over the last 20 years. Oh, but many in America do not want investment to grow because the media and President says its bad. Tell that to China, and they are going to laugh at you.

    "It's pretty simple. Once you tax an entity like a corporation, you require that it should have a representative voice under the Constitution. Posted by: Patrick Kellmeyer"

    1./ The Corporations confiscate the property of an individual by bankruptcy!
    2./ A voice with the help of representative to create a ponzy scheme!
    3./ Uses the the part of the funds to award the representative - conspiracy!
    4./ The individuals pay taxes on the interest they received and to
    5./ Deprive the individuals of property and/or of "unalienable rights" to
    express his "WILL on all ISSUE"!

    "The price paid to be member of society!"

    Yes, indeed "pretty simple."

    Bill Moyers,

    Is America the biggest Hypocracy on earth?.

    There are too many people who blog on this site, but can any of you explain the abuses that happen in this country instead of exploiting what abuses happen in third-world and other countries.

    Explain why the exploiting of people that get paid minimum wage and have to fight for their rights in civil cases on that amount of wages. No civil rights lawyer would want to talk to you if you don't pay them lots of money. Why?, and how do these hard working people get justice. Especially in the medical profession, Mayo clinic would ask you to write down all medications you took for the last 6 months, isn't that against the law?, but the disability department would'nt do anything or explain anything, this is my experience. Not even the news papers or the TV stations want to do any investigations, but they constantly, brag, about other simple investigations and how great they have done. Even Judges do not give them slack. Explain!! Explain!! Explain!!.

    Replace it with something similar to how life is like in Venezuela or Cuba or China?
    Free Medical, low cost food, free housing, and a right to a job if you care to work, no property rights, no incentive, wonderful life...

    There are such FUNDAMENTAL defects in this country (after the 30-year assault that started with the treasonous Reagan) that fixing it is going to require much much more that what this FoxNews, BornAgain, GadgetObsessed public can be led to accept.

    It is OVER with this mess of a country! Maybe something, not quite so greedy and not quite so corrupt from top to bottom, will replace it.

    Bill Moyers Journal last night (Jan 29,2009) was absolutely inspiring and beautiful!

    With all of the lying and treachery, malfeasance, war mongering, waterboarding ... ad nauseum ... from our top government leaders and representatives of our top institutions over the past 30 years, I was flabbergasted once again by the display of intelligence and concern for what is happening in this country!

    Thank you, Bill Moyers! We don't see such worthwhile programming anywhere else.

    [If you were a Justice on the Supreme Court, how would you have voted in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission?]
    I, of course, would have voted with the minority -- for two reasons: 1) Giving this much power to corporations, and further subverting what democracy remains, is treasonous. 2) anything that this Roberts Gang of Five favors will hopefully one day be an indictable offense!

    [Should Congress move to pass new laws regulating political spending from corporations and unions? If so, what would you suggest?]
    Congress should stop selling their votes on this and any other issue. To paraphrase the Great Somnambulist Ronald ("new pair of shoes everyday") Reagan, Congress IS the problem.

    I am ANGRY about what has happened to this country over the past 30 years. To hell with this American Empire! I want the Old Republic back!

    How are you and your community working to win political power for the people over deep-pocketed special interests?

    ... the people are smarter than you think, and much smarter than any corportation. where does your paycheck come from ... eventually from a corportation or small business. money doesn't grow on trees like Uncle Sam thinks ...

    A legal person is a legal entity (corporation) through which the law allows a group of natural persons (who as some have pointed out already have human rights)to act as if they were an individual for certain purposes. Initially these certain purposes such as the right to own property, make contracts, sue or be sued, or self governance made sense and were clearly spelled out when corporations were granted personhood. It provided for accountability for corporate wrong doing. Basic rights such as free speech do not necessarily follow from legal personhood and it was never in the intention of the writers of the constitution that such nonsense be so. Legal entities cannot marry, vote or hold public office but the supreme court decision effectively allows corporations to de facto hold office by buying elections. Some countries prohibit legal entities from holding human rights and congress should move in that direction in this country to restore democracy and restrict plutocracy

    Corporations have to sell products; they do not have the ability to tax or print money. Millions of consumers will make the choice, and corporations will tow-the-mark to consumers. For example, every Corporation is now "Green" because of consumer choices. Corportations market to the people not a CEO or CFO, and any political stand they take against the people would be corporate suicide.

    After 9/11, I thought that the greatest threat to America's future was terrorism. Now, I believe the greatest threat comes from the Supreme Court eliminating the limits on corporate campaign spending. The objective of every corporation is greater returns, and there is no greater return on investment than investing in a politician.

    Ultimately, the greatest blow by the Supreme Court was psychological. It further enforces the idea that the common man cannot compete with corporate interest. It deepens the sense of institutionalized corruption. It instills a sense of hopelessness.

    Now I am left with what to tell my little children? Grow up and make lots of money so that you can have a voice in politics? Go to Wharton, climb to corporate ladder, become CEO at any cost, to at last buy a politician or a race?

    And to Justices Roberts, Alito, Scalia, Thomas and Kennedy: I WILL NEVER FORGIVE OR FORGET!

    The students are being indoctrinate to believe, "we all have unalienable rights to life,
    liberty, and property..." The unalienable rights for the 16 year old cabin boy were taken
    away" ... by the other three on the cabin !
    The "unalienable rights to life, liberty and property "were taken away during the
    Worlds War II for millions of people.
    The "unalienable rights... to property" in USA are being taken daily under the
    Chapter 11 of the BANKRUPTCY ACT and the JUSTICE SYSTEM.
    to property, no BUT'S or IF'S!

    Though the "The philosopher John Locke believes that individuals have certain
    rights—to life, liberty, and property—which were given to us as human beings in
    the “the state of nature,” we have a system of government that has been operating
    360 degrees opposite of “the state of nature,...”
    The philosopher John Locke states, "though this be a state of liberty, yet it is not a
    state of license being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another
    in his life, health, liberty, or possessions."
    "For no one to harm another in his life, health... we need the "Health Insurance!"
    The facts are that the Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Act is a "Legal license to
    commit fraud". Only the Debtor in Possessions" has "UNCONDITIONAL RIGHTS!"
    In Kelo V. City of New London property were taken away!
    Locke correctly stated, "All government in the world is the product only of force
    and violence, and that men live together by no other rules but that of beasts,
    where the strongest carries it, and so lay a foundation for perpetual disorder!"
    I believe only when people are empower to "express their WILL on All issue"
    there will be REAL CHANGE.
    For more on "LIFE LIBERTY and PROPERTY,"

    It's pretty simple. Once you tax an entity like a corporation, you require that it should have a representative voice under the Constitution. If you wish to remove the corporate entity and its requirement to be represented by the public debate, the Constitution requires that you remove its taxation. What's so difficult to understand?

    To JoT...jots:
    “But once our government tries to legislate against such immorality, we as a nation lose freedom.”

    So your argument is remove all laws to prevent criminal activity and the criminals will negate themselves. Sounds like you support deregulation of any kind that certainly led us to the economic and political mess we have in this country and the world today.

    You are missing the point. We are talking about removing unfair and unnecessary representation given to non life entities called corporations in our elections. The employees and CEOs already get a vote on Election Day and can write their congressional representatives just like anybody else. To give money making machines with mega wealth political influence in a democracy is just plain wrong. A goal of a corporation is to make money for their shareholders and as we seen at the expense of others.

    A corporation’s voice is heard thru their constituents and must NOT be heard as direct consequence to how much money they have or what politicans they can buy.

    Sorry, that's MN (Minnesota) for Sen. Franken.

    Sen. Al Franken (D-MI) writes to me that he has taken an immediate, important, first step to counter the Court ruling by introducing the American Elections Act of 2010 (S. 2959), which would prohibit campaign spending by foreign-controlled corporations. Passage of this bill and the introduction of subsequent legislation to ban all contributions in place of public-funded elections should be the highest priority of the president and the Democratic Congress, even above healthcare and banking-regulation reforms. Now you have something specific about which to write and call your senators to push.

    # If you were a Justice on the Supreme Court, how would you have voted in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission? Explain.

    I'd have written an opinion reversing the 1876 twisting of the 14th amendment's equal protection clause. I would have declared corporations non-persons.

    # Should Congress move to pass new laws regulating political spending from corporations and unions? If so, what would you suggest?

    I would suggest an amendment depriving corporations of personhood.

    # How are you and your community working to win political power for the people over deep-pocketed special interests?

    You must be joking! Most Americans are politically stupid; otherwise they would have elected Kucinish or Nader as POTUS.

    The present court, and ones previous, referred to the 1885 case Santa Clara County vs. Southern Pacific Railroad in affirming that corporations are persons protected under the 14th amendment. This is what Thom Hartmann has to say (search Internet: Thom’s Corporate Personhood rant, 09 September 2009):

    …actually the court did not rule that corporations were persons, but they have been claiming that ever since then because the clerk of the court, John Chandler Bancroft Davis, former President of the Newburg and New York railroad, wrote into a head note – the commentary on the case – which has no legal standing, a quote from the chief justice who had since died, he was dying of congestive heart failure during the year the proceedings happened, he died the next year. This was published two years later. He wrote that the chief justice said, “a corporation is a person and therefore entitled to protection under the 14th amendment.” When nobody knows if the chief justice said that. Even if he did, it doesn’t matter. It’s not the case. (Thom Hartmann)

    And so five members of today’s Supreme Court have handed over the country to the corporations based on a clerk’s unbinding commentary in a head note to the case.

    Mr Moyers asked Richard Trumka the same question twine, about unions' also being able to support candidates with advertising, according to Citizens United v. FEC. Sometimes, I can't tell if Moyers doesn't get it or if he is asking a silly question in order to educate the slow portion of his viewers.

    I would like to have heard Moyers ask Trumka, "Mr Trumka, why doesn't labor, in the US, offer its own candidates for office - as is done in most Euoropean democracies?"

    Charles Pratt
    Yes, but it isn't just old laws that need to be repealed. The necessity for a constitutional convention to correct the founders errors has never been more apparent. Sadly those same founders made it all but impossible to make urgently needed changes to an antique and outdated document.

    To: American Programmer
    I am taken aback by your extrapolation that I think that corporations having the same rights as individuals. If I thought that way I would not have even bothered to direct people to Gerry Spences book. So that no one else makes the same mistake, I am disgusted that an entity that has no breath, body, and evidently no morals (including us share holders) should have the rights of a human being. If we want to get back control of our system, we need to start with repeal of those old laws that prevent anything from changing. If the laws are not repealed, don't blame the Supreme Court.

    This ruling signals the death of the representtive republic and the birth of the corporate nation. As another comment suggested, maybe we should ask about secret Swiss accounts.

    Suprise suprise?
    How could we ever have thought that the justice branch of our democracy was any different than the executive and legislative branches, when they stem from the same corporately corrupt money tree. It is the corporations that selected the justices, and the thorns of greed rather than the flower of equity that continue to grow.


    I sincerely enjoy Bill Moyers Journal and am somewhat upset that he is leaving. But as usual, I get pretty upset by his programs.
    With the Supreme Court ruling, you may as well not vote. So what are we going to do about this anyway. ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!!!

    I appreciate the coverage of this expansion of corporate rights. I am rather surprised, however, that your experts presented it as something new. Corporations have been "persons" under the law since 1886, and that means they have been able to claim the rights of an individual protected by the Constitution for almost 125 years. Money=speech--corporate campaign donations are the way a corporate person "speaks"--was the outcome of the Buckley v. Valeo decision in 1976, a confirmation of the rights of the corporation to free speech. And campaign finance reform has been gutted every time it has been tried, which happens regularly because people are already so unhappy with the political voice that campaign donations give to corporations. While the recent decision does remove the last vestiges of regulation of such giving, it is not a new direction by any means. We have been ruled by corporations for more than a century--Teachout's image of the individual human vs. the Sherman Tank well describes what happens to democracy when corporations have political power. This is nothing new. This history is not commonly known but it is not difficult to find or to understand. Putting the recent decision into context with this history would have done your viewers a huge service by helping us to understand why corporate money has been the most powerful "voice" in politics for decades.

    “The marketplace of ideas doesn't give anyone, any corporation or any individual, the right to buy an election."

    I think you are under the delusion that politicians are ethical and working for the best interest of the citizens. You think you have a 50% / 50% chance of getting it right when you vote. Corps already buy politicians votes, so they pass legislation to only benefit the rich and powerful. So why do you think any of this would change either way with the supreme court decision?

    After all, America was screwed from the rich corps buying politicians votes without this decision. Can gov become even more corrupt with the decision?? Well, maybe...time will tell.

    Here is what needs to be done with the decision the court handed down. Let corps spend all the money they want. BUT at the bottom of the ad it must say the which corp is paying for it. And the real name cannot be hidden under a chain of phony names to disguise the real corp.

    Now, no doubt corps will be able to hide this fact. But if citizens can see the barrage of negative ads coming from big corps, that should clue them in to 'vote the opposite' of where the corp is pushing them.

    BUT, and this is the big BUTT!

    Do you really think that we have 50% - 50% chance to pick the right answer for Washington? I say instead of a 50% / 50% chance of getting it right when you have a 100% chance of getting another lying rhetorician in office.

    ...and I have yet to be proven wrong!

    For I learned long ago that ALL politicians are cut from the same cloth. To offer a citizen the glimmer of hope that their vote may change political business as usual is a real crime. In this day and age we can't afford to get lost in delusional thinking as our world is decomposing around us.

    One candidate may have better spin on the question - so you vote for him or her. But when it comes down to it - politicians are pretty much all lying the ignorant public just votes for the best liar!

    Voting just got us in the mess we are in, so voting does little to fix the problem and in reality it just perpetuates it.

    But until RADICAL change has been FORCED on our politicians NOTHING WILL CHANGE. IF NOTHING CHANGES...NOTHING is that simple.

    Politicians never answer for the evil they do. Their is no oversight committee to administer punishment....all that is said is, "Well, maybe he did do something wrong...but let's just move on." And the politicians succeeds in fudging the public once again.

    As the dieoff approaches we will still no doubt be putting all our hopes in the next political deity that tells us he or she can transform our world.

    John Adams said that this American experiment will not survive if the people are not religious (in his time= moral). I agree with you that Monsanto sounds like an immoral company led by immoral folk. But once our government tries to legislate against such immorality, we as a nation lose freedom. Just as surely as a pro-choicer recognizes laws against partial-birth abortion as a slippery slope and gun rights advocates oppose registration as a slippery slope- legislating corporate morality yields the very gross abuses visable today. There is another answer and that is to have an engaged, educated electorate that rewards ethical companies. Who is ethical and what constitutes ethics needs to be judged in the bright light of free conversation and debate. The laws you support substituting for this process have not yielded more ethical results and have caused much of the behavior to go underground or behind the doors of lobbiests thereby earning us the McCain-Feingold Act (see the slope)... You will never be able to legislate ethical behavior and keep this a free country. NEVER.
    So don't try? No, try trusting the people by allowing a free press, whistle blowers, appropriate legal recourse, free debate and unfettered elections.

    "This is a question of what kind of society do we want to live in... "

    Yes, I agree, but as a capitalist country we have no national philosophers in gov to answer that question and help our poor, corrupt politicians find enlightenment on this subject.

    A politician's only concern is how much money can I make, how much power can I grab, who can I fudge next and how can I stay in power until they wheel me out after I take my last breath!

    Questions of social ethics don't go very far in DC. Social ethics and capitalism just don't mix. They are like trying to mix oil and water. Lets take a look at on highly capitalistic company Monsanto for the low down on how capitalism works.

    Monsanto engaged in "outrageous" behavior by releasing tons of carcinogenic PCBs into the city of Anniston and covering up its actions for decades Monsanto's internal memos stated "...we can't afford to lose one dollar over this."

    Any social ethics here? Any ethical behavior? Even a smidgen of humanity? The health of a community is not even worth a lousy buck? (see paragraph 11)

    Well, why should it be any other way to a capitalistic system? Especially one where the politicians can be bribed yo only support the rich?

    Money is god to a capitalist, so the more money one makes, the close one gets to their idea of heaven. Social ethics cost money and capitalists can't even afford to spend a buck on social ethics.

    And in the big picture, even if Monsanto did not break the law, why would they be accountable to lose profits to fund social ethics? They are a public company and their job is to make profits for their shareholders and give obscene paychecks to their execs.

    But, capitalists do have some use for socialism. When they are losing money, ready to go bust, they like to socialize their loses to the taxpayer so they can keep reaping the profits as they rape the society that supports them.

    When Enron was sent to court it was dear old CEO Ken that did go on trial before his peers. That is what you are missing- a corporation IS made up of people. When Erin Brochovich went after PG every stockholder and person who depended on them for a salary was punished. What about for-profit entities makes them so threatening in a free, educated democracy? This isn't about a commie plot after all...

    How are you and your community working to win political power for the people over deep-pocketed special interests?
    My community is called the Tea Party Movement, or as Obama refers to us, "the tea-baggers". We don't have a voice in the mainstream media and we clearly have no voice on this show. We have no George Washington or similar Cinncinatus to lead us, but we ARE the PEOPLE and we are not afraid of freedom. Why does the potential for GE to criticise a candidate threaten democracy but Jesse Jackson's threats of action by his Rainbow Coalistion are encouraged? Why can George Soros make an ad for a candidate that voters can watch and judge but Netflix or Exxon can't? Heck, I even made some ads and loaded them on Youtube for the presidential election. It is all about expanding freedom not keeping a finger on the scale!

    If corporations and unions are deemed to have the same rights as individuals under the first amendment then do they have the right to a trial by a jury of their peers (other corporations or unions)? Of course not!

    It's clear to me that the framers of the constitution did not intend first amendment rights to entities other than individuals.

    How can the "We the People" force our government to overturn this egregious ruling by the Sovereign Five?

    GE can fund Brian Williams to promote its candidate in a race (more nuance, Brian, and the dumb voters will never notice) while taxpayers can have money confiscated to hear the same candidate ballyhooed by Mr. Moyers. Oh yes, and when that candidate IS elected, GE is thanked with huge wind turbine contracts masked as "job creation stimulus" and PBS gets the shackles of fairness tossed with the appointment of liberals to watch the henhouse. Sounds like in your world Wal-Mart needs to just buy CBS to advocate on its behalf and protect itself from government encroachment? No, this is not the answer. Remember, we American can vote with our dollars. Just as we supported Conservative radio shows and Air America types had to retreat to NPR, we can now use a corporation's political stance to help us decision whether we spend or invest out money there or not. If it was all or nothing, I think you'd have a stronger argument, but when some corporations (book publishers, Frontline producers, talk radio and their parent corps) get a voice and the others do not, you start to sound like the pigs at the end of Animal Farm....

    I always try to go read Dr. King to honor his birthday. So, I was recently reading this from his Riverside Church speech ...

    "We must rapidly begin [applause], we must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered."

    The empresses had no clothes!
    I watched the 1/29 show and was embarrassed for you because neither you nor your two guests, Youn and Teachout, were aware of the illustrative irony of the spectacle.
    With buoying nods of agreement and an elitist scoff at any suggested criticism, your guests “dittoed” each other back and forth. Instead of introducing two arguments, you settled for redundancy.
    And the best part…
    You and PBS used the 1/29 show to present ONE view with money confiscated from those of us who still pay taxes and every “corporation” from the mom and pop pizza shop to the evil Wal-Mart your guests smugly maligned. Perhaps you want the freedom only to yourself because it is safer when people in corporations are silenced while your “balanced” journal can take our money to present what the smartest people in the room think.
    PS-Youn and Teachout, I may not have a law degree but you can only be the smartest women in the room if you keep that guest list very short.

    The add reads, “foreclosures are at a long time high, government and banks are offering great deals.”

    Plagued with the stimulus of false starts and quick fixes, lost in the antics of semantics professed by the entrapment of predatory practices. Clear and simple 1st year economics, “While depressed in recession where real value is peaked by the cost of goods and services, there will be no relief along the babblings Banks of gambling gain.”
    Linked as a boundless ring to the means of no end and skewed untrue by virtue of view, it is the Banks and Wall Street governed by the influence peddlers that created the inflation of real value and should share to bear the cost to correct it.

    Corporate Influence. When the dust settles...there will be one, one corporation, who rises above all. Who will it be? Who will determine our existence (they'll sell hamburgers, distribute ideas, built military weapons, secure our borders, energize our lives)? The bunny?

    Here’s part of Justice Stevens’ opinion/dissent. He talks about how the Framers would have been appalled
    (starts on page 148,

    …And whereas we have no evidence to support the notion that the Framers would have wanted corporations to have the same rights as natural persons in the electoral context, we have ample evidence to suggest that they would have been appalled by the evidence of corruption that Congress unearthed in developing BCRA and that the Court today discounts to irrelevance. It is fair to say that“[t]he Framers were obsessed with corruption,” Teachout 348, which they understood to encompass the dependency of public officeholders on private interests, see id., at 373– 374; see also Randall, 548 U. S., at 280 (STEVENS, J., dissenting). They discussed corruption “more often in the Constitutional Convention than factions, violence, or instability.” Teachout 352. When they brought our constitutional order into being, the Framers had their mind strained on a threat to republican self-government that this Court has lost sight of…

    And here’s the spin from Scalia and two of his four disciples (page 79):

    JUSTICE SCALIA, with whom JUSTICE ALITO joins, and with whom JUSTICE THOMAS joins in part, concurring.

    I join the opinion of the Court.
    I write separately to address JUSTICE STEVENS’ discussion of “Original Understandings,” post, at 34 (opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part) (hereinafter referred to as the dissent). This section of the dissent purports to show that today’s decision is not supported by the original understanding of the First Amendment. The dissent attempts this demonstration, however, in splendid isolation from the text of the First Amendment. It never shows why “the freedom of speech” that was the right of Englishmen did not include the freedom to speak in association with other individuals, including association in the corporate form. To be sure, in 1791 (as now) corporations could pursue only the objectives set forth in their charters; but the dissent provides no evidence that their speech in the pursuit of those objectives could be censored.
    Instead of taking this straightforward approach to determining the Amendment’s meaning, the dissent embarks on a detailed exploration of the Framers’ views about the “role of corporations in society.” Post, at 35. The Framers didn’t like corporations, the dissent concludes, and therefore it follows (as night the day) that corporations had no rights of free speech. Of course the Framers’ personal affection or disaffection for corporations is relevant only insofar as it can be thought to be reflected in the understood meaning of the text they enacted—not, as the dissent suggests, as a freestanding substitute for that text. But the dissent’s distortion of proper analysis is even worse than that. Though faced with a constitutional text that makes no distinction between types of speakers, the dissent feels no necessity to provide even an isolated statement from the founding era to the effect that corporations are not covered, but places the burden on petitioners to bring forward statements showing that they are (“there is not a scintilla of evidence to support the notion that anyone believed [the First Amendment] would preclude regulatory distinctions based on the corporate form,” post, at 34–35).
    Despite the corporation-hating quotations the dissent has dredged up, it is far from clear that by the end of the 18th century corporations were despised. If so, how came there to be so many of them? The dissent’s statement that there were few business corporations during the eighteenth century—“only a few hundred during all of the 18thcentury”—is misleading. Post, at 35, n. 53. There were approximately 335 charters issued to business corporations in the United States by the end of the 18th century.

    I guess greed at the end of the 18th century was/is different than today.

    I have one question; would it be illegal if a Supreme Court Justice were to possess a hidden Swiss bank account? Just wondering.

    Control? As in the kind of control that only money can buy! Yeah! President McDonalds!

    ... which ever way you look at it the Supreme Court got to the truth and made the right decision.

    Progressives would like to control everything they don't like, and now they can't. Get use to it.

    God Bless Howard Zinn. He will live on in those who question what is force fed to them.

    By the way, the obvious solution to the problem Mr. Moyers purports to address is to make campaign finance a strictly public matter. Oh wait, our esteemed President reneged (can I still use that word, pace Fuzzy Zoeller?) on that one too. Add it to the list.

    I'm really quite bemused by Mr. Moyers' most recent show on the recent ruling by the Supreme Court on campaign finance reform legislation, not so much because of his remarks qua his remarks (though I certainly take issue with them), but because of the context in which they are made. Although his weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth certainly make for good television, it's a bit difficult to take Mr. Moyers seriously as a stern guardian standing defiant in the face of an onslaught against the democratic character of our government. Where was his Jeremiad against the contingent of unelected, unvetted czars with tremendous powers of policy-making? Or against the wall of indifference with which our "representatives" recently met the ongoing protests against the several bills on the matter of healthcare reform? Or against the blatant overreach by the SEC requiring companies to project their exposure to financial risks caused by global warming, no matter that this is not within the SEC's purview? I mean, my goodness, Mr. Moyers. Democracy in America is dying the death of a thousand cuts by well-intentioned bureaucrats wielding thousand-page bills and soda-pop taxes, an army of do-gooder nannies who are perfectly willing to nudge (or shove) us brainless peasants in the right direction, and all you can come up with is a Supreme Court decision? Get out more.

    Again, Mr. Moyers, a WONDERFUL show tonight! I LOVED your 3 part show!! I hope that you ARE seriously considering to continue your show!!!! America needs your voice!!!!!

    I just spent about 45 minutes writing and it was erased by this system as I tried to correct the 'preview'. I am pissed for I had some really great questions/comments but I won't re-write it!!!! This has happened to me 3x before so you would think that I would copy it as I go. Oh well... next time!!!!

    By Alyce Vrba
    January 30, 2010
    FOCUS: Our economy is interconnected, and increasingly it is globally interconnected. Our socioeconomic well-being is interconnected. Our economy, our socioeconomic well-being and stability is not just short-term, bubble to bubble, speculation boom or bust, but consists of our constructive long-term thinking, our feelings, our actions, our investments collectively and individually as our AMERICA and as AMERICANS.
    Let's implement constructive plans and policies for our future:
    1) Restructure our healthcare system...a) Its cost(s); b) How it works; c) How and when it is delivered; d) How it is funded.
    2) Restructure our financial system.
    3) Restructure and implement our comprehensive clean-energy plan and policy, designed to conserve and to protect our environment.
    4) Fight for, protect, and expand our MiddleClass. Fight for, protect, and reduce the demographic ranks and suffering of our POOR.
    5) Invest in our PEOPLE, our America, our infrastructure, our businesses, our communities...
    FOCUS: Think, feel, act not just for our short-term, but for our collective, our individual constructive and sustainable long-term. CHANGE is never easy, CHANGE may not seem to come fast enough. CHANGE will be a steady and sustainable stream of our constructive collective and our individual thinking, feelings, and actions.
    A.VRBA, Copyright 2010, All rights reserved.
    See "March of the Peacocks", New York Times, 1-28-10, By Paul Krugman,
    See "The Perot Option", New York Times, 1-28-10, By David Brooks,
    See "Prescriptions, Making Sense of the Health Care Debate", New York Times, 1-29-10,
    See "A Bubble Bursts in Davos, Populism Popular at the World Economic Forum in Davos", Washington Post, By David Ignatius, 1-31-10,
    See PBS, "London: the Price of Traffic",
    See PBS, Bill Moyers Journal, "Corporations, Political Spending, & the Campaign Finance Supreme Court", 1-29-10,
    See PBS, Bill Moyers Journal, "State of the Unions" with AFI-CIO President: Richard Trumka, 1-29-10,
    See "Propane Users Left Out in Cold", Des Moines Register, By Jason Clayworth, 1-29-10,
    A.VRBA, 2010

    I hear it now, 2016, “Madame Speaker, the great Corporation of Google casts its vote for President to…” 2017, Revolution. Representation without…representation

    Currently taking a class on the Federal Government. I would have to say that the decision made by the supreme court, makes my voice even fainter in comparison to corporate America. But yet, I will continue to hollar...someone will hear me!

    ... the financial industry doesn't print money. It is the Federal Reserve who sets policy and the Treasury that has run the printing presses 24 / 7. You can blame Uncle Sam and Barney Frank.

    if unregulated corporit capitalism is so great what happened to the financial sector

    Let's drop all the delicate euphemisms and call a spade a shovel: The Supreme Court has ruled that the First Amendment protects the right of corporations to bribe politicians. It has held that a piece of paper with some ink on it (a corporate charter) has the same rights and protections under our Constitution as a human being.

    I cannot imagine that is what the Founders of our nation had in mind when they wrote the Bill of Rights. This is a catastrophic decision for our country and its citizens – without a doubt the worst by this or any Supreme Court since its founding. Once again, we will be governed by the Senator from Standard Oil and the Senator from Citigroup and the Senator from Pfizer, etc. It's enough to make me weep.

    growth at what price to what end

    If Unions are so good what happened to the American auto industry?

    rip howard zinn you will be mist and not forgotten.brian it is not self preservation it is a symbiotic relation between a union and its members.the sc has just given an individual personal human rights to a none living entity

    Yes, the middle class is getting smaller year after year. Except the middle class is not becoming poorer, but moving up and becoming wealthier while lower income are moving up to the middle class. If our Government would have policies of growth even more people would raise their standard of living and move up. Today's poor live very princely when compared to a 100 years ago. Though most progressives think we should move backwards with less growth and lower standards of living with redistribution of income. Not a good mix for prosperity.

    They both probably fear big brother too, but they don't realize that with the internet it is the people who are big brother. They really appear paranoic and have let their imaginations run away. Enough of their foolishness. Common sense says it is still only American individuals who vote and they are a lot smarter than these two realize.

    Unions can buy elections now. Why not corporations?

    There hasn't been this kind of discrepancy between rich and poor since the high flown days of the french aristocracy before the Revolution.

    Poor Marie Antoinette and most of the royals got their heads chopped off for the relatively minor sins of conspicuous consumption and arrogance.

    Of course, not as many of our citizens are starving to death as the french. But we are yolked by crippling debt and financial instability, a huge national debt, unemployment; many of the same problems.

    I think the American elite have acted just the same way. That's just to be expected most of the time, but these people are too profligate and too numerous. These are the children of emperors and they want their own piece of the pie. The middle class portion is getting smaller and smaller every year.

    I think Richard Trumka is right, the only way is to take it back. Who in their right mind can believe something like trickle down economics at this point. After giving banks bailouts and watching what they did.

    People who argue the other way are starting to look like cowards. It seems as though they don't think they can avoid being ruled by plutocrats, so they just give in and deny, deny, deny.

    Ms. Youn summarized it succinctly when she said that after this ruling:

    Money = Speech
    Corporations = People

    Year 2000 was a braking point, and this recent Supreme Court's decision simply confirms a mere fact that ALL branches of power in this country became servants of big money.

    Unfortunately, the problem is not with the 1% or 5 % of greedy corporate or Wall Street bosses. The real issue is that the other 80% (well, just a guess) desire to be among those 5%.

    IF corporations have the same rights as persons, then when their products harm people, they need to go to jail. No fines or settlements. And, if they're "like people," then they live and can vote in only one state. So, I guess poor Delaware, where most businesses are incorporated, will get all the influence peddling!

    Seriously, the decision worries me. It's like LEGALIZING influence peddling. When is the American public going to wake up to this slashing of our rights?

    The founding fathers had almost no first hand experience with corporations at all. That all came later. In the beginning they were creatures of government, such as the East India and Hudson Bay Companies, and it was as such that they were considered anti-republican. Unions are, of course, successors to the medieval guilds, and we know what ppl like Adam Smith said about them. But by the mid-19th c Tocqueville viewed corporations as successors to the landed aristocracy, albeit with considerable concern about its degree of noblesse oblige. It has never been possible to divorce property from power or power from property, though the franchise has been enlarged and property qualifications dropped. Both Harrington and Paine acknowledged as much. Both Adams and Jefferson deplored banks, but firmly believed in a natural aristocracy.

    A year or two ago here I quoted Gouverneur Morris in the Constitutional Convention on this topic, and it bears repeating. He proposed restricting suffrage to freeholders. Madison reports him saying: "He had long learned not to be the dupe of words. The sound of Aristocracy therefore had no effect on him. It was the thing, not the name, to which he was opposed, and one of his principal objections to the Constitution as it is now before us, is that it threatens this Country with an Aristocracy. The aristocracy will grow out of the House of Representatives. Give the votes to people who have no property, and they will sell them to the rich who will be able to buy them. We should not confine our attention to the present moment. The time is not distant when this Country will abound with mechanics & manufacturers who will receive their bread from their employers. Will such men be the secure & faithful Guardians of liberty? Will they be the impregnable barrier agst. aristocracy? -- He was as little duped by the association of the words 'taxation & Representation.' The man who does not give his vote freely is not represented. It is the man who dictates the vote. Children do not vote. Why? because they want prudence, because they have no will of their own. The ignorant & the dependent can be as little trusted with the public interest..." The point is not that property should not enter into it all, but that only property can be trusted, and I would certainly imagine the Republicans on the court are desirous of seeing property more widely extended, which they see government imperiling.

    As I wrote here when this case was first discussed, the aristocracy with all its power, has from ancient times, through Renaissance, Reformation, and Enlightenment been considered essential to a mixed or balanced constitution, Montesquieu's balance of powers substitute, notwithstanding. It was the Roman aristocracy the Caesar's replaced, and the aristocracy that forced King John to sign the Magna Carta; the aristocracy that led the Glorious, American and French revolutions. They did not do it through the power of ideas or personality, powerful as they may be, but because they represented economically viable organized groups, not mobs or dictators, and they have to be acknowledged not only as a constituency, but a pillar of good government. Now, I don't disagree at all with the point that many of them are multinational, and thus may not have the exclusive interest of our people at heart, that they may have an undeserved tax advantage, that people may be corrupted by money, or that they threaten to further erode the society of pre-commercial America, but they cannot be ignored, and they have now to be engaged on a different field and not just bound, gagged, mandated and taxed into submission. That tactic helps no one economically, and favors authoritarianism. Far better to acknowledge their strength and work to improve its character, for instance, by stopping funneling unearned money to them, which allows them to ignore both workers and customers, or by revamping laws on collective bargaining, shareholder rights, and management responsibility.

    Here is one point I like to share, our Congress is so polarized now due to corporation corruptive influence in our government.

    People forget that fact. If we can get corporate big money interests out of of Washington, we would have better representation by both parties.

    As your panel of legal experts brought out, the Supreme Court went beyond the narrow confines of the case presented. I do have to disagree with their opinion that the court majority was being overtly activist. Their confusing majority decision was meant, as I saw it, to reaffirm the legal existence of Corporate Personhood that has been around since the late 19th century. I was reading between the lines of the majority opinion and I saw a message to Congress that said get off the sidelines and right a long time wrong by passing meaningful campaign finance reform legislation that doesn't pander to your corporate benefactors. In general, their advice was to stop ceding your Constitutional responsibilities to other branches of government to avoid political confrontations that might impede your chances in the next re-election bid.

    Another week of having guests who represent liberals... my my..what a one side biased presentation of PUBIC TV... You have no shame.. Week after week goes by & no conservative views.. How about having representatives from the Chamber of Commerce.. We will never see it.. But its OK for Trunka the Union Pres to spew his BS

    Hello Bill; I enjoyed the 1/29 program. I though a key point was missed when no one spoke of reality of who a Corporation would fight for this country the way that the vietnan draft army was asked to uphold the citizen requirement to defend the country. HOW WOULD A CORPORATION MEET SUCH A RESPONCIBILITY? I would not and thus the USA falls apart. Is this not !984 in reality?

    I have never understood the 130-year-old "personhood" of American corporations.

    A "person" must be capable of being put behind bars if s/he has broken a law. No corporation can be incarcerated.

    With most Justices being Catholics, perhaps it will be up to the Pope to say that persons must have immortal "souls". Since I am an Atheist, I would hate to have the Vatican run our country more than it does already, but this might be one good thing that might come from that.

    To Charles Pratt:
    Just because years ago corporations were given the same rights as a citizen does NOT make it right.

    In the past, Americans turned a blind eye and allowed corporations to have citizen privileges and unfair corruptive influence in our government because it created more American jobs. However, these Frankenstein monsters forgot who their benefactors are and turned against the American citizen by shipping our jobs overseas, busting our unions, taking away our pensions, causing unjust wars, and ruining our way of life. This is unforgivable and must be stopped. Besides employees and shareholders ALREADY have freedom of speech and get to vote in an election. It is totally unnecessary for a corporation to be able to use its mega wealth and slant an already money corporate saturated system.

    Normally I enjoy watching your program but tonight I was disturbed when you loaded the bases with liberal panelists who beat up the Supreme Court and their latest ruling. Couldn't you find someone to bring an opposing opinion to the discussion?

    Thank you Bill for taking some time to remembering Howard Zinn. He'll be sorely missed by all whose lives were touched by this remarkable man. A true Patriot of the highest order. A prince of peace,
    may he rest with the best.

    I am amazed that everyone is surprised at the Supreme Court decision granting corporations the same freedoms as individuals. Of course the reason I am not amazed is that many years ago I read Gerry Spences book "Justice for None" published in 1989. In the book he explains the history behind this reality that corporations have the same rights as individuals. It goes way way back. I am therefore surprised that your legal "experts" did not mention this very old Supreme Court decision that gave corporations the rights of individuals. I cannot quote the decision and dates because I cannot locate my old copy of the book. If Gerry is still alive I would recommend that Bill interview him. In the meantime read the book. His website link is:

    Bill you forget to mention the amount of negative campaign ads that will result from the Supreme Court ruling. The ads that corporations will now get to swamp the air waves will be attack ads not infomercials. THERE IS A BIG DIFFERENCE.

    How can the Supreme Court be so stupid to allow big money to have more influence that is negative in our elections? Corporations are not people, CEOs and U.S. shareholders ALREADY get a vote on Election Day like the rest of us! There is no need to have their corporations to be able to flew their mega wealth muscles and taint elections and drown our voices because of money. It is time to kill that Frankenstein monster called corporations with their B.S. free speech rights; their employees already have that right.

    The nature of this ruling will prevent anything congress can do except to rewrite the 2nd amendment. The only other way to stop this is to march on the Supreme Court in mass numbers and get the court to reconsider their opinion. Please comment on my website at if you like to march with me; leave your e-mail address so I can contact you.

    Come on Bill do we all think that the president of the AFLCIO is not going to push his own agenda. Is overtaxing those who make over 250K per year going to generate more jobs? That will only eliminate excess dollars that those who make higher salaries and curtail the annual spend of purchasing goods and services back into economy, thus having a compound effect that would lead to the opposite...the need for less jobs. It clearly is a double edged sword. That is clearly not the answer. Second point on the secret ballot. Let's call it what it is, union memberships are dropping throughout the country due to the global economy. Unions are looking for more ways to increase membership into areas where they currently do not exist. It is clearly all about dues and the residual dollars that they produce once a union is voted in etc. It is all about self preservation.

    Wow, Teachout is cute! and single, I didn't see a ring on her finger as she was waving her hands about.

    Bill, you are what Japan calls "a national treasure" and i hope you live forever, as I did for Howard Zinn.

    I wrote the following to Monica Yuon at a blog at the Yuon Center but it failed to work,so I put it here for you and everyone:

    What if Congress were to require all corporation political messages to SLOWLY (30 seconds fore and aft) say that they were paid for by said Corporation in font at least 5% the size of a small TV screen, or something like that?

    Additional: What the Court did is done. What can we do to prevent corruption (for that is what it amounts to) now? What do you think of the idea above? (I feel the specific indications of who is behind the message is insufficient now.)

    Believe it or not, your guest is also a poet. The below was also in the note that did not get through:

    ps i just saw you on Moyer's show -- is he not a national treasure? -- and googled you and think the snapper on "Venice Unaccompanied" (in which case, you cannot see it and die) a masterpiece, though i want rhyme in poetry, as a rule.

    I'm glad the Supreme Court decision was the topic, but it seems that, inevitably, at the end of every discussion on The Journal, the hope for things to turn around comes back (sometimes explicitly stated, sometimes implied) to the fact that Obama was elected - hooray! But that's an extremely couterproductive idea.

    I am so sick of hearing how encouraging it was how many regular citizens participated in the 2008 campaigns, when by and large they're congratulating people for giving more money and support to Democrats and Republicans whose pockets were already over-flowing with corporate money. What was the point?!
    The major parties are in too deep. Time and time again, Moyers' guests back up that conclusion, and yet no one admits the obvious: We can't pull Democrats and Republicans out of this money game without dropping them AND voting for third part/independent candidates, who don't get corporate money, whose loyalties can lie undivided with the PEOPLE. They're going to have to lose to third party and independent candidates before listening to the voters will outweigh listening to the corporations. But at the rate we're catching on to this, corporations will have the right to vote by then too!

    I am very disappointed that my channel (MPBN channel 10) in Maine did not schedule this broadcast (January 29, 2010) on the Supreme Court decision. I have heard (source I cannot verify now) that Bill was on the edge of retirement and that Bill Moyers Journal would cease. From the comments I read here Bill Moyers Journal is still being produced and broadcast. What happened to MPBN?

    Congress needs to exercise their responsibility for checks and balances and reverse this mistaken decision. It is time for the people to start the 2nd American Revolution.

    Thanks Bill for memorializing Howard Zinn, his passing has been marginalized to ignored by the Main Stream Media over the past two days. Anyone who has read Howard's books, attended one of his classes, or listened to his speech's is not surprised by this, he has always said that recognition to achieve real reform requires peaceful dissent and can never be accomplished through capitulation with the existing power structure.

    Howard Zinn, RIP !

    Presumably the founding fathers believed free speech of individuals was of value to the extent that such speech could potentially have some impact within a marketplace of ideas.
    With this SC ruling, the free speech of individuals will have even less potential impact than before, and hence be of less value. The Supreme Court has devalued the currency of free speech.

    As far as my community, it's 1946.

    Presumably the founding fathers believed free speech of individuals was of value to the extent that such speech could potentially have some impact within a marketplace of ideas.
    With this SC ruling, the free speech of individuals will have even less potential impact than before, and hence be of less value. The Supreme Court has devalued the currency of free speech.

    RE: How are you and your community working to win political power for the people over deep-pocketed special interests?

    RE:Should Congress move to pass new laws regulating political spending from corporations and unions? YES If so, what would you suggest?

    Supreme-Court ruling rolls The Founders in their graves and buries the voice of the people with them.

    The Reagan-Bush appointed, Supreme-Court majority has finally handed the conservative Republicans and their big-business and industry stewards a victory of monumental proportions with their ruling tying First Amendment free-speech rights to campaign contributions. The 5-to-4 ruling is an abomination of the Constitution that puts representative government up for sale or bribe, ripping apart the fabric of The Founders’ concept of democracy.

    Conservative spokesmen say the ruling, which sweeps away the Congress’s McCain-Feingold restrictions on campaign contributions (which actually never went far enough) and allows unlimited campaign spending by corporations and unions, restores free speech and equality to that which was always intended by the First Amendment. To the contrary, the fact is, in the time of the Founders, there was no election machine or industry serving the influence of corporations that depended upon the monetized system of election influence that exists today, or that was any kind of consideration at all for free-speech protections. The truth of that is in the very words of Thomas Jefferson, spoken against the power and ambition of industry to challenge government and take control from the people, and which cry out from his grave against the falsehood of all of the conservative-Republican claims supporting the ruling, and which also prove the highest court in the land no longer stands to protect the Constitution, but rather, to protect and preserve the power of corporate-industrial America, the people be damned.

    Only Congress can right this abortive travesty and threat to democracy by passing laws banning all campaign contributions and establishing funding for all elections that is wholly public. It should be the highest priority of the president and the Democratic Congress, even above healthcare and banking-regulation reforms. Otherwise, the United States of America, as the Founders conceived it, to be an instrument of the People, is dead and going to hell.

    When president after president, Republican or Democrat, and war after war, the will of the people and the majority of Congress is ignored, the message is clear, that democracy in America is broken. And the factors that stand between the government and the People are no mystery. President Andrew Jackson, in a spawning industrial, corporate, and banking expansion was warned that, without care, these industries would take over the power of government, a warning echoing Founder and President Thomas Jefferson’s, and most lately echoed by President Dwight Eisenhower’s warning of the dangers of the growing, Cold-War fueled military-industrial complex. And, 100 years before the end of the Great Depression, Jackson found himself in a struggle with the banks, a struggle in which the Democratic party’s roots were sewn.

    Now, from rug-swept high crimes to ceremonial Constitution to shameful abuse of wealth to health care for provider profit to futile war to unrelenting climate change, influence peddlers tied to these factions control the policies that are destroying the future of America, and with global warming, the world. These interests, mostly exercised through the Republican party’s conservative wing, will trade jobs in one industry or another for eventual disaster everywhere. In wars, where they no longer need fear the involvement of their own sons or daughters, they press for conflicts to keep the technology of violence progressing and the military involved to use it. And at the very core of the power that these and other influences have over the People and their representatives, lies the entrenched, enshrined, corrupted, influence machine of elections, which the conservative-Republican majority in the Supreme Court has placed even more solidly in the hands of industry, and apart from the People, with its ruling voiding Congress’s McCain-Feingold limits on campaign contributions.

    A Court in control of conservative-Republicans, who are in the control of industry, doesn’t care that a clean electoral process is what lies at the very heart of a true democratic system, and that core of freedom and choice is at the heart of the Supreme-Court escalated attack for control by the monied, greed-vested entities from corporate to industrial that see Washington as their own personal cache of money and privilege to be raided at will. The control has been theirs because of their steadfast, long-term grip on the system of contributions and gifts that buys the advertising that brings the unenlightened mass vote used as the leverage that delivers influence used to sway law makers to the dark side, and as a result, the American democracy is a sham, a front for disguising the true nature of the elitist democracy that really exists and controls the lives and future of all in the nation. The corruption of campaign finance has become as comfortable as old sweats, so integral to the life of Congress and its members that congressional promotions are based upon fund-raising accomplishments rather than skills that yield intelligent legislation or more enlightened constituent integration with the process of government.

    Until all election contributions by both individuals and organizations are banned, and elections are fully, treasury funded, Americans will never get near their worth from the fund-raising-prioritized time and money-influence-prioritized decisions of their elected officials, and they will never be free of unneeded, unwanted wars, suicidal policies against the thin, fragile veil of air that supports all life and dictates whether climates are to be stable, or the whole slew of influence travesties, ranging from pork spending to government ethics that plagues the relationship between Washington and the voters. And this destructive abuse will continue, unabated until the conceptual America of the Founders is completely dead and gone.

    Senior legislators, charged with reforming bank and healthcare law to benefit the interests of the nation and the people, are the targets of campaign money, rained upon them by the industries the laws they form will affect, and they have undeniably been forming those laws or blocking them to serve the interests of those who got them elected, not those of the people who elected them or the nation. Campaign contributions invite corruption and the follow-up of intense lobbying, all of which also contribute to a host of related abuses, including earmarks. The money-for-influence system cannot be effectively regulated. To try and do so is like trying to quit smoking by slowly withdrawing, a method that almost always fails, compared to cold-turkey prohibition, which does work. This is why campaign reform to end all contributions and replace them with full, public funding is required. And it is the most important of all issues that face America, because the electoral system in America has devolved into an engine of corrupted influence that blocks and dilutes effective governance, and it will be the cause of the eventual destruction of America’s democracy.

    The wall separating the People from their government is already well under construction. It is a philosophy of the conservative-Republicans, and it is being funded by the influence of money, which is the tool of greed, and it has no place in a just government of the free.

    Mr. President, tear down that wall!

    If you were a Justice on the Supreme Court, how would you have voted in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission? Explain.

    The foundation was laid for the Republican majority in former Justice, Lewis Powell's 1971 "Manifesto"
    to the U.S.Chamber of Commerce-according to former Big Tobacco attorney
    Powell,corporate America was the "victim". Look him up on Wikepedia.

    In this talk show they say Monsanto and DuPont are patenting heritage (heirloom) seeds.


    Show #659: THE SEED GIANTS

    The show said the Supreme Court was the vehicle for Monsanto that got the ball rolling for them in their quest to dominate global seed production

    If these corps eventually patent all the heirloom seeds, it will make seed saving illegal for everyone...all backed by the full faith and credit of our gov!

    I realize the First Amendment supporters like the SCOTUS decision but I believe people like Glenn Greenwald miss the larger picture. According to Thom Hartmann's book, "Unequal Protection", in the 2000 presidential race corportions outspent unions 15:1. With the depleted middle class financially struggling, public advocacy groups such as Move-On and others will no longer have their moneyed backing to match that of corporations in running political ads. As many astute writers such as Thomas Frank have noted, corporations already have excessive privileges, perks and laws that are not afforded the average American. (When is the last time you heard of a corporation being given the death penalty? ) Although I agree that congress on both sides of the aisle are deeply beholden to the corporations, we must demand laws to reign in moneyed interests already destroying this country's political system. It is past time for campaign finance reform.

    If the playing field was level and the person with no money could be heard as loudly as the one with billions of dollars I would agree with the Supreme Court, but we all know this is not and never will be the case. The Supreme Court has done this country a tremendous disservice.

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