Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Where Has The New York Times BEEN?

I could not believe my eyes when I saw this Editorial in the New York Times, "A Threat To Fair Elections". With great excitement, I began to read, wondering if they were FINALLY going to start addressing some of the issues from this past election (not to mention the two previous ones). You know, some of the voter intimidation, voter fraud, caucus fraud...But, no. That was not the focus.

Rather, the point of the Editorial has to do with an upcoming Supreme Court decision:
The Supreme Court may be about to radically change politics by striking down the longstanding rule that says corporations cannot spend directly on federal elections. If the floodgates open, money from big business could overwhelm the electoral process, as well as the making of laws on issues like tax policy and bank regulation.

The court, which is scheduled to hear arguments on this issue on Wednesday, is rushing to decide a monumental question at breakneck speed and seems willing to throw established precedents and judicial modesty out the window.

Corporations and unions have been prohibited from spending their money on federal campaigns since 1947, and corporate contributions have been barred since 1907. States have barred corporate expenditures since the late 1800s. These laws are very much needed today. In the 2008 election cycle, Fortune 100 companies alone had combined revenues of $13.1 trillion and profits of $605 billion. That dwarfs the $1.5 billion that Federal Election Commission-registered political parties spent during the same election period, or the $1.2 billion spent by federal political action committees.

Uh, okay. Is it really possible that the Editors are unaware just how much money Obama spent to buy the White House in the last election? Are they unaware that he violated one of his campaign promises to forego Public Financing? Did they even BOTHER to look up just how much money Obama GOT from corporations?? Evidently not. Hence their outrage at this possibility. And it goes on:
The Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld the limitations on corporate campaign expenditures. In 1990, in Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce, and again in 2003, in McConnell v. Federal Election Commission, it made clear that Congress was acting within its authority and that the restrictions are consistent with the First Amendment.

In late June, the court directed the parties to address whether Austin and McConnell should be overruled. It gave the parties in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission a month to write legal briefs on a question of extraordinary complexity and importance, and it scheduled arguments during the court’s vacation.

All of this is disturbing on many levels. Normally, the court tries not to decide cases on constitutional grounds if they can be resolved more simply. Here the court is reaching out to decide a constitutional issue that could change the direction of American democracy.

The Editors are sure right about that - it IS "disturbing on many levels." I just don't get why they didn't get so exercised about this say, oh, two years ago. I guess I'm just nitpicky that way.

And their concern continues:
The court usually shows great respect for its own precedents, a point Chief Justice John Roberts made at his confirmation hearings. Now the court appears ready, without any particular need, to overturn important precedents and decades of federal and state law.

The scheduling is enormously troubling. There is no rush to address the constitutionality of the corporate expenditures limit. But the court is racing to do that in a poorly chosen case with no factual record on the critical question, making careful deliberation impossible.

Most disturbing, though, is the substance of what the court seems poised to do. If corporations are allowed to spend from their own treasuries on elections — rather than through political action committees, which take contributions from company employees — it would usher in an unprecedented age of special-interest politics.

Corporations would have an enormous say in who wins federal elections. They would be able to use this influence to obtain subsidies, stimulus money and tax loopholes and to undo protections for investors, workers and consumers. It would take an extraordinarily brave member of Congress to stand up to agents of big business who then could say, quite credibly, that they would spend whatever it takes in the next election to defeat him or her.

The conservative majority on the court likes to present itself as deferential to the elected branches of government and as minimalists about the role of judges. Chief Justice Roberts promised the Senate that if confirmed he would remember that it’s his “job to call balls and strikes and not to pitch or bat.”

If the court races to overturn federal and state laws, and its well-established precedents, to free up corporations to drown elections in money, it will be swinging for the fences. The American public will be the losers.

Well,I don't know about you, but this seems just a tad disingenuous to me. They are railing NOW about the money corporations can spend in the future? Do you think they gave a crap that Goldman Sachs, yes, I said, GOLDMAN SACHS, gave Obama almost $1 MILLION dollars? How about Time Warner giving him almost $600,000? The list goes on and on. Which is what makes the outrage of the Editors ring just a bit hollow to me, as I said. How about you?


Mary Ellen said...

Uh, okay. Is it really possible that the Editors are unaware just how much money Obama spent to buy the White House in the last election? Are they unaware that he violated one of his campaign promises to forego Public Financing? Did they even BOTHER to look up just how much money Obama GOT from corporations??

Of course they didn't bother to look up how much money Obama got from corporations. That would involve having journalistic integrity, which most of us know doesn't exist with these guys.

Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy said...

LOL - and there ya have it! I mean, golly gee, it took me abt 20 seconds to do the Google search, and find the actual information. I am guessing that they just don't have that kind of time...

I LOVE the image to go with your name - fantastic! :-D

Miss Becky said...

oh yeah, you know it baby. i'm incredulous too. not only the NYT, but most of the media didn't do their job. they looked the other way and kept silent. if Reverend Wright had been Hillary's spiritual guru for 20 years, she wouldn't have even been 'first lady'. remember the hoohah and investigation of President Clinton's campaign finances regarding over-seas money? I informed my sister of the amount of money Obama paid to get the Big Chair, and she claims I am full of s--t. Unless it is front page above the fold, as a screaming headline for a week straight, people don't know about it, have never heard of it, and don't care. Obama has a shield, given to him by the media and it doesn't seem plausible that it will be taken away anytime soon. I can only wish. of course, there is always that HOPE thingy...

Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy said...

Preach it, sister! You said it!

Can you imagine if Hillary had all the same people in her inner sanctum as Obama? Oh, my, we'd still be gearing the hue and cry, wouldn't we? How abt if she had sevderal felons as close friend (Rezko, Kilpatrick, and Blagojevitch spring to mind)? Or if she had an avowed Communist as a close adviser?

Do you think the media would have been silent abt all of those people? HAHAHAHAHA!!!!

Oh, what do you think would have happened if her speechwriter posted a photo of himself groping an Obama cutout? Uh huh - he would not have a job anymore, much less get promoted!!

Thanks for the comment!

Mary Ellen said...

My granddaughter picked out that image for me because I taught her how to go down up or down a step with her skateboard. She said most grandmas don't do skateboards and I informed her that I'm going to invent a walker with a skateboard attached, for future use. ;-)

I left a cute cartoon on my blog today that you might get a kick out of.

Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy said...

ME, that is SO cool!! :-D And I can just see a walker with a skateboard, flames painted all over it...

Awesome - I'm on my way right now!