They frankly own the place
—Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., in 2009 admitting the taboo about banks’ influence in Congress
In a "landmark" 5 to 4 ruling, the Supreme Court declared an end to limits on corporate donations to political campaigns. (And, oh yeah, labor unions too). Thus ends any curb on the ability of special interests to buy politicians.
A chance remained, albeit small, that laws on the books curtailing bribes would continue to be enforced, or even strengthened, to preserve what little representative government we had left. That's all over now.
The conservative majority of the Supreme Court just made a mockery of its claim to judicial restraint, overturning decades of law and legal precedent with a decision that will inevitably corrupt our democracy.
More than a century ago, President Teddy Roosevelt saw what today’s court is blind to — that unleashing corporations to drench our political campaigns in special interest money will drown out the voice of regular citizens.
Roosevelt banned corporate political spending by signing the Tillman Act in 1907. Four decades later, Congress extended the same ban to unions. Supreme courts have affirmed these limits as legitimate several times since.
But Thursday, in a 5-4 decision, this supposedly conservative court swept all that away. So now, instead of soliciting their employees or members for voluntary donations to political action committees, unions and corporations can tap their general funds for political causes, allowing them to spend much more.
In a day when special interests already hold our democracy by the throat, the court has helped them tighten their grip.
This comes as a blow to those of you who still believe in Human Progress. Way back in 1907, T.R. banned corporate political spending. We're far more "enlightened" now.
The root of the now unsolvable problem is that way back when—I'm too lazy to look it up—corporations were accorded the rights of individuals, which obviously included those freedoms included in the Bill of Rights. That is why you will find the Supreme Court's ruling hailed as a "victory" for the Free Speech guaranteed under the 1st Amendment.
Clearly, a corporation is not an individual. But construed another way, a corporation is an individual—the person who runs the place. This person can spend the considerable resources of the corporation to buy politicians, and now his unfettered ability to do so, which considerably dwarfs your own unless you are Soros, Gates or Buffet, has been "legislated" by the judiciary. These expenditures, of course, are easily justified as the cost of doing business.
There was a time when such news would have been shocking, provoking anger, protests, much gnashing of teeth, wailing, beating of breasts, and so forth. But as we roll forward in 2010, after decades of corporate Pavlovian training, the American people are beaten down, trampled underfoot, cowed, subservient, submissive, compliant, thoroughly brainwashed, and thus incapable of responding with the appropriate outrage to the complete annihilation of what many of them still fondly think of as a "Democracy."
Empires and democracies do not go together. As a friend asked, why go through the charade of having a Congress? After all, even casual observers can see that they fuck up everything they do, on those rare occasions when they do something. In part, that's because they are already bought & paid for. For several years now, they have been spending America into bankruptcy, an event which is not as far down the road as you might think (maybe 10-12 years away if current debt growth is maintained). So why don't we just get rid of them?
So abolishing the Congress sounds good to me. Then we wouldn't have all this pretense in America that we live in a Democracy in which people step up each election year to cast their meaningless ballots. Unfortunately, the Powers That Be are well aware that such fakery keeps the people submissive, for what is more powerful than maintaining the illusion that power resides in our hands when it does not?
The Roman poet Juvenal asked who will guard the guardians themselves? Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? The answer, then as now, is nobody will.