Tag Archives: Citizen United

Jim Hightower ~ The Corporate Mad Dogs Of Citizens United

Nation Of Change | October 31 2012

As feared, our people’s democratic authority has been dogged nearly to death by the hounds of money in this election go ’round, thanks to the Supreme Court’s reckless decree in the now-infamous Citizens United case.

That rank political power play by five black-robed judicial partisans unleashed the Big Dogs of corporate money to bite democracy right in the butt this year, poisoning our elections with the venom of unlimited special-interest cash. But there’s also been another, little-reported consequence of the malevolent Citizens United decision: It has unleashed mad-dog corporate bosses to tell employees how to vote.

Prior to that 2010 Court ruling, top executives were barred by federal law from using corporate funds to instruct, induce, intimidate or otherwise push workers to support particular candidates. No more, thanks to the five Supremes. Having been given a legal pass, bosses have openly and aggressively conscripted employees to be political troopers for corporate-backed candidates.

For example, CEO David Siegel of Westgate Resorts, a major peddler of time-share schemes, warned his 7,000-strong workforce against voting for Obama. To do so, he wrote in a letter to each of them, would “threaten your job.” Obama, Siegel declared, planned to raise taxes on multimillionaires like him, which would give him “no choice but to reduce the size of this company.”

Likewise, Dave Robertson, president of the Koch brothers’ industrial empire, notified 30,000 workers that they would suffer assorted “ills” if they helped re-elect Obama. In case that message was too subtle, Robertson helpfully included a slate-card of Koch-approved candidates for them to take into the polling booth.

Of course, corporate chieftains say they’re not making threats — just suggestions. As Boss Siegel disingenuously put it: “There’s no way I can pressure anybody. I’m not in the voting booth with them.”

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Bernie Sanders ~ Vermont Senate Votes to Overturn Citizens United

Reader Supported News | April 13 2012

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) welcomed today’s Vermont Senate passage of a resolution calling on Congress to propose a constitutional amendment to undo a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that threw out a ban on corporate campaign spending.

“I congratulate the Vermont Senate for this important vote. Citizens United was one of the worst decisions ever handed down by the Supreme Court. The people of Vermont and across America are totally disgusted with the huge amounts of money that billionaires and corporations are now throwing into the political process as a result of that misguided decision,” Sanders said.

“The Vermont Senate has now added its strong voice to a grassroots movement that is growing all across the United States,” he added. “We must overturn this disastrous decision.”

The Vermont Senate resolution asks Congress to consider an amendment to clarify that “money is not speech and corporations are not persons under the U.S. Constitution.”

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Iowa ~ The Meaningless Sideshow Begins

Matt Taibbi (Rolling Stone) | RS_News | January 3 2012

OPINION | The 2012 presidential race officially begins today with the caucuses in Iowa, and we all know what that means …

Nothing.

The race for the White House is normally an event suffused with drama, sucking eyeballs to the page all over the globe. Just as even the non-British were at least temporarily engaged by last year’s royal wedding, people all over the world are normally fascinated by the presidential race: both dramas arouse the popular imagination as real-life versions of universal children’s fairy tales.

Instead of a tale about which maiden gets to marry the handsome prince, the campaign is an epic story, complete with a gleaming white castle at the end, about the battle to succeed to the king’s throne. Since the presidency is the most powerful office in the world, the tale has appeal for people all over the planet, from jungles to Siberian villages.

It takes an awful lot to rob the presidential race of this elemental appeal. But this year’s race has lost that buzz. In fact, this 2012 race may be the most meaningless national election campaign we’ve ever had. If the presidential race normally captivates the public as a dramatic and angry ideological battle pitting one impassioned half of society against the other, this year’s race feels like something else entirely.

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Missoula’s Supremely Important “Personhood” Vote

Jim Hightower | Nation of Change

OP-ED | In November’s elections, the national media gave extensive coverage to a proposed “personhood amendment” to Mississippi’s state constitution. This extremist, anti-choice ballot initiative declared that a person’s life begins not at birth, but at the very instant that a sperm meets the egg.

However, extending full personhood to two-cell zygotes was too far out even for many of Mississippi’s anti-choice voters, so the proposition was voted down.

Jim Hightower

Meanwhile, the national media paid no attention to another “personhood” vote that took place on that same day. This was a referendum in Missoula, Montana on a concept even more bizarre than declaring zygotes to be persons with full citizenship rights.

It was a vote on overturning last year’s democracy-killing decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in the now-infamous Citizens United case. A narrow, five-man majority had decreed that — abracadabra — lifeless, soulless corporations are henceforth persons with human political rights.

Moreover, said the five justices, these tongueless entities must be allowed to “speak” by dumping unlimited sums of their corporate cash into our election campaigns, thus giving them a far bigger voice than us real-life persons.

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It Takes People Power to Make Clear That Corporations Are NOT People

Jim Hightower | Nation Of Change
November 30 2011

In the Nov. 8 elections, the national media gave extensive coverage to a proposed “personhood amendment” to Mississippi’s state constitution. This was an extremist anti-abortion ballot initiative to declare that a person’s life begins not at birth, but at the very instant that a sperm meets the egg. However, extending full personhood to two-cell zygotes was too far out even for many of Mississippi’s zealous antagonists against woman’s right to control her own fertility, so the proposition was voted down.

Meanwhile, the national media paid practically zero attention to another “personhood” vote that took place on that same day over a thousand miles from Mississippi. This was a referendum in Missoula, Montana, on a concept even more bizarre than declaring zygotes to be persons with full citizenship rights.

It was a vote on overturning last year’s democracy-killing decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in the now-infamous Citizens United case. A narrow five-man majority had decreed that — abracadabra! — lifeless, soulless corporations are henceforth persons with human political rights. Moreover, said the five, these tongueless artificial entities must be allowed to “speak” by dumping unlimited sums of their corporate cash into our election campaigns, thus giving them a far bigger voice than us real-life persons.

Missoulians, of course, cannot single-handedly overrule the Supremes. But they can be in the forefront of a grassroots movement for a constitutional amendment reversing the Court’s perverse ruling. And that’s just what the people there did, with a whopping 75 percent of voters calling on Congress to send such an amendment to the states for prompt ratification.

We can all be Missoula! Get your city, county and state to join the call.

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“We the People,” Not “We the Corporations”

By Jim Hightower | Nation Of Change
October 26 2011

Jim Hightower at the 2008 Texas Book Festival,...

Jim Hightower

OP-ED | A year from now, Americans will be caught in an unprecedented blizzard of presidential campaign ads. We’ll be blinded by the whiteout and buried in the storm’s negativity.

For the first time ever, most of this ad blizzard will not come from the candidates, but from ads secretly funded by huge corporations. This is because a five-man cabal on the Supreme Court issued an edict last year that perverts nature itself. In a case titled Citizens United, the five decreed that — shazam! — lifeless corporate entities are henceforth “persons” with more electioneering rights than … well, us real-life persons.

In a black-robed coup against our democracy, the Supremes ruled that a corporation’s money is “speech” and that CEOs may dump unlimited sums of it into their own ad campaigns to elect or defeat any candidates they choose.

Of course, Wal-Mart, Goldman Sachs, ExxonMobil and the rest are nothing but legalistic constructs — really just pieces of paper issued by state governments. It’s a grotesque, Kafkaesque lie to say they are equal to — much less superior to — human beings. As a friend of mine puts it, “A corporation is not a person until Texas executes one!”

The good news is that real citizens of our country are united against Citizens United. In a January Hart Research poll, 87 percent of Democrats, 82 percent of independents and even 68 percent of Republicans favor passing a constitutional amendment to overrule the Court’s bizarre decision and make clear that only people are people.

Sadly (thought not surprisingly), our national elected officials — including Republicans, Democrats and tea partiers — are too hooked on corporate money to stand up for us … for America’s democracy. So, do we just have to surrender to the corporados? Of course not — we’re Americans!

Rebel! A new “We the People Campaign” is rallying grass-roots folks to sign a “Declaration of Independence From Corporate Power.” To sign the declaration and join the action, go to We The People.

In response to the Supreme Court’s freakish decision to bestow political “personhood” on corporations, I got an email from a guy named Larry, screaming that “big money has plucked our eagle!”

Yes, it has — and the Powers that Be want us to believe there’s nothing we can really do about it. Rather than actually trying to undo this theft of our people’s democratic authority, they tell us to be satisfied with a few tangential regulations, like maybe requiring corporations to disclose how much they’re spending on campaigns. Now there’s a weak stand for democracy: “Give us campaign finance reporting regulations, or give us death!”

Come on, we’re bigger than that. Here are just a few actions for real change that ordinary Americans can take, teaming up with others right where you live:

AMEND. Two major coalitions are organizing coast to coast to overturn the courts corporate money edict. One is FreeSpeechForPeople.org, and the other is MoveToAmend.org — and both have action kits for raising the issue locally, petitions to be circulated, video and other good graphics to educate people in your community, and a wealth of other organizing ideas.

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