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America; if money is freedom, then does having more money mean you are more free?

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  • America; if money is freedom, then does having more money mean you are more free?

    I just don't know what to say. The rate at which money is influencing our politics is only going to accelerate after this most recent SCOTUS ruling.

    The limit being struck down was a total cycle contribution of $123,000 by an one person; but it still kept the personal candidate $5,200 limit in place. This is was another 'partisan' vote of the SCOTUS, 5-4, and continues the trend of loosening restrictions of placed on federal election campaign finance. Conceivably, since this includes 'political action corporations', any candidate can receive unlimited money for their campaign from just one person/corp.son.

    This means anyone, or 'corp.son', Bloomberg or BP, is free to freely place unlimited monetary contributions during any political cycle.

    The full ruling is found here: http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions...2-536_e1pf.pdf

    Below are a few quotes:

    The right to participate in democracy through political contributions is protected by the First Amendment, but that right is not absolute. Congress may regulate campaign contributions to protect against corruption or the appearance of corruption. See, e.g., Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U. S. 1, 26–27. It may not, however, regulate contributions simply to reduce the amount of money in politics, or to restrict the political participation of some in order to enhance the relative influence of others. See, e.g., Arizona Free Enterprise Club’s Freedom Club PAC v. Bennett, 564 U. S. ___, ___.

    Significant First Amendment interests are implicated here. Contributing money to a candidate is an exercise of an individual’s right to participate in the electoral process through both political expression and political association. A restriction on how many candidates and committees an individual may support is hardly a “modest restraint” on those rights. The Government may no more restrict how many candidates or causes a donor may support than it may tell a newspaper how many candidates it may endorse. In its simplest terms, the aggregate limits prohibit an individual from fully contributing to the primary and general election campaigns of ten or more candidates, even if all contributions fall within the base limits. And it is no response to say that the individual can simply contribute less than the base limits permit: To require one person to contribute at lower levels because he wants to support more candidates or causes is to penalize that individual for “robustly exercis[ing]” his First Amendment rights. Davis v. Federal Election Comm’n, 554 U. S. 724,
    739.
    Rebuttal: Restricting the number of donations is a necessity to avoid a situation where proxy groups are used to support a candidate. By removing the total limit you remove any effective cap on contributions per candidacy in current practice.

    This Court has identified only one legitimate governmental interest for restricting campaign finances: preventing corruption or the appearance of corruption. See Davis, supra, at 741. Moreover, the only type of corruption that Congress may target is quid pro quo corruption. Spending large sums of money in connection with elections, but not in connection with an effort to control the exercise of an officeholder’s official duties, does not give rise to quid pro quo corruption.Nor does the possibility that an individual who spends large sums may garner “influence over or access to” elected officials or political parties. Citizens United v. Federal Election Comm’n, 558 U. S. 310, 359. The line between quid pro quo corruption and general influence must be respected in order to safeguard basic First mendment rights, and the Court must “err on the side of protecting political speech rather than suppressing it.” Federal Election Comm’n v. Wisconsin Right to Life, 551 U. S. 449, 457 (opinion of ROBERTS,C. J.). Pp. 18–21.
    Rebuttal: I guess lobbies don't exist. I guess corruption doesn't exist, only the appearance of corruption. I guess only 'Something for Something' corruption exists too and that influence due to money doesn't count. Furthermore this says that money is Free Speech, again. I guess this means when I speak I should get money too?

    The Government argues that the aggregate limits further the permissible objective of preventing quid pro quo corruption. The difficulty is that once the aggregate limits kick in, they ban all contributions of any amount, even though Congress’s selection of a base limit indicates its belief that contributions beneath that amount do not create a cognizable risk of corruption. The Government must thus defend the aggregate limits by demonstrating that they prevent circumvention of the base limits, a function they do not serve in any meaningful way. Given the statutes and regulations currently in effect, Buckley’s fear that an individual might “contribute massive amounts of money to a particular candidate through . . . unearmarked contributions” to entities likely to support the candidate, 424
    U.S., at 38, is far too speculative.
    The underlined point is a catch-22. To promote freedom of politics we need to allow the backing of candidates. Since we currently have a system based on fundraising and donation efforts we simply must resort to donating money to candidates we back (personally I liked the suggested McCain finance reforms that set hard limits). However, not everyone has, let us say, a million dollars. This amount of donation money is in excess of what a vast majority of citizens can contribute. As such since the donation proportion is skewed those who can contribute such a large amount garner more much 'influence' over others.

    Best case right now? Sheldon Addleson getting Gov. Christie to walk back some statements he made about Israel.


    Even accepting Buckley’s circumvention theory, it is hard to see how a candidate today could receive “massive amounts of money” that could be traced back to a particular donor uninhibited by the aggregate limits. The Government’s scenarios offered in support of that possibility are either illegal under current campaign finance laws or implausible. Pp. 21–30.


    Seriously? So the ruling is that since it can be circumvented through loop-holes (crafted by influence on politicians) the current law is to be struck down?


    In anycase, as I am most certainly obviously biased, I'll advertise the dissent:

    Nearly 40 years ago in Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U. S. 1 (1976) (per curiam), this Court considered the constitutionality of laws that imposed limits upon the overall amount a single person can contribute to all federal candidates, political parties, and committees taken together. The Court held that those limits did not violate the Constitution. Id., at 38; accord, McConnell v. Federal Election Comm’n, 540 U. S. 93, 138, n. 40, 152–153, n. 48 (2003) (citing with approval Buckley’s aggregate limits holding).

    The Buckley Court focused upon the same problem that concerns the Court today, and it wrote: “The overall $25,000 ceiling does impose an ultimate restriction upon the number of candidates and committees with which an individual may associate himself by means of financial support. But this quite modest restraint upon protected political activity serves to prevent evasion of the $1,000 contribution limitation by a person who might otherwise contribute massive amounts of money to a particular candidate through the use of unearmarked contributions to political committees likely to contribute to that candidate, or huge contributions to the candidate’s political party. The limited, additional restriction on associational freedom imposed by the overall ceiling is thus no more than a corollary of the basic individual contribution limitation that we have found to be constitutionally valid.” 424 U. S., at 38.

    Today a majority of the Court overrules this holding. It is wrong to do so. Its conclusion rests upon its own, not a record-based, view of the facts. Its legal analysis is faulty: It misconstrues the nature of the competing constitutional interests at stake. It understates the importance of protecting the political integrity of our governmental institutions. It creates a loophole that will allow a single individual to contribute millions of dollars to a political party or to a candidate’s campaign. Taken together with Citizens United v. Federal Election Comm’n, 558 U. S. 310 (2010), today’s decision eviscerates our Nation’s campaign finance laws, leaving a remnant incapable of dealing with the grave problems of democratic legitimacy that those laws were intended to resolve.

  • #2
    Re: America; if money is freedom, then does having more money mean you are more free?

    The game is rigged, debating the rules of a game in which one has an advantage no matter the wording of the rules or while playing with liars and cheats is pointless. So I suggest everyone quit playing. I quit trying to play a few years ago after voting for Obama and found him to be just another puppet. The players on the board that most lash out at like Obama, senators, congressman are not the ones moving the pieces across the board, they are the pawns. Although some who hold positions of power may have good intentions they are overwhelmingly outnumbered, drowned out, ridiculed, threatened, or silenced. I have had too many debates with those who feel are system works if only we had the right people holding office, ( I use to feel that way but no more) it wont change a damn thing until the people have control again. For the people to have control again money must be removed from elections completely!! Term limits must be placed on are congressman and if they do something contrary to what the people who voted for them wanted or even just doing a poor job at it they must be fired immediately! TBH I am too tired of the BS. I could type for days spewing facts, giving examples, and pleading my case on how people need to wake the hell up, but my single voice will not persuade any FOX news watcher to the contrary. They will argue " we need republicans in control!" and the other side argues for there team and so on. Until people realize they are all the same pieces of a one sided board game we will get nowhere. They irony is that we hold the most pieces for the game in are very own hands by an overwhelming number but division and ignorance has scattered them all over the board and no one knows which side the are really on. So I sit back and wait for people to get a clue and wait for the next revolution, hopefully of the mind and not with violence. Over and out.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: America; if money is freedom, then does having more money mean you are more free?

      Last edited by Shane; 04-04-2014, 12:59 PM. Reason: bad video insert

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: America; if money is freedom, then does having more money mean you are more free?

        Originally posted by Shane View Post
        The game is rigged, debating the rules of a game in which one has an advantage no matter the wording of the rules or while playing with liars and cheats is pointless. So I suggest everyone quit playing.
        See I simply can not do that. The very foundation of the United States was in that hallowed tradition of statesmanship. Our rebellion resulted after many failed attempts to appeal politically, and ultimately after the rebellion, we returned to the body politic. No matter how rigged the game is one should not be so disenfranchised to capitulate to what is morally and ethically wrong. Plessy v. Furgeson was wrong but saw a 7-1 majority ruling in favor of 'separate but equal' segregation and Jim Crowe was embraced, but that doesn't mean you don't march on the capital. It doesn't mean you just give up and do not participate. Indeed the onus is on the party least powerful and least represented to make itself known.

        I quit trying to play a few years ago after voting for Obama and found him to be just another puppet. The players on the board that most lash out at like Obama, senators, congressman are not the ones moving the pieces across the board, they are the pawns. Although some who hold positions of power may have good intentions they are overwhelmingly outnumbered, drowned out, ridiculed, threatened, or silenced. I have had too many debates with those who feel are system works if only we had the right people holding office, ( I use to feel that way but no more) it wont change a damn thing until the people have control again.
        I am very well one of those people who still thinks that there is something valuable to be had in our democracy. I don't think you can relate democracy, even crony democracy, to chess as it implies a King/Queen or even a grandmaster moving them all. Power, political or capital, is not so consolidated into the hands of one or several men. Personally, I ascribe to the concept that there is such a thing as unintentional conspiracy. Many people being motivated by selfish intentions eventually leads to corruption of a democratic system designed to be anti-selfish.


        For the people to have control again money must be removed from elections completely!! Term limits must be placed on are congressman and if they do something contrary to what the people who voted for them wanted or even just doing a poor job at it they must be fired immediately! TBH I am too tired of the BS.
        Campaign reform is a critical process that we need to attempt which will sadly only get worse until it gets better. There is no chance to see a campaign reform movement right now while money is so critical to the game of politics. How many congressmen are millionaires? How many know 'big money'?

        Term limits can be the only option to facilitate the most rapid change required. The lobby industry, the revolving door of D.C., and so much more would need to change as a result of such changes.

        Firing people immediately is a great way to have instability and opens any democracy to the 'tyranny of the majority'. Statesmanship is not a science that can be perfected, is not a riddle with a 100% correct answer, its a game where everyone makes it up as they move along.


        I could type for days spewing facts, giving examples, and pleading my case on how people need to wake the hell up, but my single voice will not persuade any FOX news watcher to the contrary. They will argue " we need republicans in control!" and the other side argues for there team and so on. Until people realize they are all the same pieces of a one sided board game we will get nowhere. They irony is that we hold the most pieces for the game in are very own hands by an overwhelming number but division and ignorance has scattered them all over the board and no one knows which side the are really on. So I sit back and wait for people to get a clue and wait for the next revolution, hopefully of the mind and not with violence. Over and out.
        Its not just Fox News. Its the uninformed and the intentionally distracted/uncaring. Its the whole 24 hour news media which sells a product (a politically slanted ideology) to anyone who watches it and mistakes it for true journalism. Because of all of these things I've given up on waking people up. People will wake up if they need to or want to; democracy includes the right to abstain from the political process and the right to be uninformed.

        There is no way to win your argument by abstaining though. Generally those who quell themselves find themselves on the fringe unheard.

        I don't see democracy as something with a right answer to it. Just a course of self management over time. We'll never get it right.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: America; if money is freedom, then does having more money mean you are more free?

          Originally posted by Ytman View Post
          The very foundation of the United States was in that hallowed tradition of statesmanship. Our rebellion resulted after many failed attempts to appeal politically, and ultimately after the rebellion, we returned to the body politic. No matter how rigged the game is one should not be so disenfranchised to capitulate to what is morally and ethically wrong.
          Yes are foundation was built on many principles of which many longer apply, representatives of the people were needed and there to represent the people. Today people are corporations and big banks. Few representatives speak and work for the masses of there district because they are owned by those "people". When a said people should quit playing, my meaning was only to quit playing by the rules that are bogus and clearly skewed toward the benefit of those "people" that now own are representatives. Yes a rebellion IS needed and there is NO capitulation in my bones.


          Power, political or capital, is not so consolidated into the hands of one or several men. Personally, I ascribe to the concept that there is such a thing as unintentional conspiracy. Many people being motivated by selfish intentions eventually leads to corruption of a democratic system designed to be anti-selfish.

          I am afraid it is consolidated into the hands of the 1% and all with there head not in the ground can see it IS corrupt.


          Campaign reform is a critical process that we need to attempt which will sadly only get worse until it gets better. There is no chance to see a campaign reform movement right now while money is so critical to the game of politics.

          Term limits can be the only option to facilitate the most rapid change required. The lobby industry, the revolving door of D.C., and so much more would need to change as a result of such changes.

          Firing people immediately is a great way to have instability and opens any democracy to the 'tyranny of the majority'. Statesmanship is not a science that can be perfected, is not a riddle with a 100% correct answer, its a game where everyone makes it up as they move along.
          Campaign reform must change or the downword spiral will only continue to get worse. Yes that includes lobbyist and all its connected evils. The way things are now immediate firing of a representative would make things unstable only because they are not representing us. A new system could easily fix this, and there are always people in line to fill the hole. And if the representatives truly had are intentions at heart it would not be so unstable.




          Its not just Fox News. Its the uninformed and the intentionally distracted/uncaring. Its the whole 24 hour news media which sells a product (a politically slanted ideology) to anyone who watches it and mistakes it for true journalism. Because of all of these things I've given up on waking people up. People will wake up if they need to or want to; democracy includes the right to abstain from the political process and the right to be uninformed.
          Completely agree! Did you know Rupert Murdoc owns roughly 74% of the global news outlets. People are waking up it just too slow for me because I have been aware for quite a while now. I have run out of patients so like I said I sit back and wait. Yes you have the right to ignore it, but most are not ignoring it but are ill informed and can not make a true judgment with competent answers to any problem.

          There is no way to win your argument by abstaining though. Generally those who quell themselves find themselves on the fringe unheard.
          I don't see democracy as something with a right answer to it. Just a course of self management over time. We'll never get it right.
          There is no way for my argument to be heard period except by the few I speak too, drowned out by noise and money. Stepping away now and then allows me to reflect and keep my sanity so I may enjoy my life. Yes democracy is not perfect, and yes it never will be, but it IS better then the Plutocracy that we have in place now.

          All in all there is hope, and I still believe things will get better but only if we remove money, set term limits, fix are circus of a news outlets we have , and educate the people.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: America; if money is freedom, then does having more money mean you are more free?

            Certainly. I think we share more opinions than those we don't. Currently, the trend is toward Plutocracy (this trend has been in place since the redefining of a corporation around the late 1800s) and rulings like these only hurt those who wish otherwise. This being said the only way to affect meaningful change is through the system, even if it is rigged.

            I think the only chance to affect meaningful change quickly and at revolutionary speeds (pun) is the enacting of term limits. This would be the sole most beneficial change to our political system which could eventually detract the value of constant lobbying and campaign finance. Obviously the current interpretation of the law is one that favors money in politics, and sees no conflict of interests when combining large sums of money from small amounts of people to the machine of democracy. Unless certain justices are replaced there is little hope for this trend changing much in our life time.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: America; if money is freedom, then does having more money mean you are more free?

              Except....

              Look at the whole Tea Party thing. Many like to think that it was created by moneyed people like the Koch brothers and the evils of Fox news.

              But really Fox news and the Koch brothers are just catering to a group that always existed but was underserved.

              It is easy to think that those with money create the paradigms that we live in. In fact those with money only allows those with new paradigms (or forgotten/unpopular ones) to flourish.

              Look at the 60/70s. The whole hippie (then free love/sex) thing was created because the young people had money that the young of old just never had. Prior to that time either the young where working to support a family (most often on a farm isolated from others), struggling to survive in the cities or controlled by their parents.

              Money provides more freedom? Of course! The more resources one has the more choices one has. We equate choice with freedom, no?

              Americas power has always been that we acknowledge this and embraced it.

              Americas weakness is that often the collective we thinks that only this freedom through assets is important.
              Iím not racists, I have republican friends. Radio show host.
              - "The essence of tyranny is the denial of complexity". -Jacob Burkhardt
              - "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds" - Emerson
              - "People should not be afraid of it's government, government should be afraid of it's People." - Line from V for Vendetta
              - If software were as unreliable as economic theory, there wouldn't be a plane made of anything other than paper that could get off the ground. Jim Fawcette
              - "Let me now state what seems to me the decisive objection to any conservatism which deserves to be called such. It is that by its very nature it cannot offer an alternative to the direction in which we are moving." -Friedrich Hayek
              - "Don't waist your time on me your already the voice inside my head." Blink 182 to my wife

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: America; if money is freedom, then does having more money mean you are more free?

                Originally posted by El_Gringo_Grande View Post
                Except....

                Look at the whole Tea Party thing. Many like to think that it was created by moneyed people like the Koch brothers and the evils of Fox news.

                But really Fox news and the Koch brothers are just catering to a group that always existed but was underserved.
                But the ruling isn't about any one particular party, group, or movement. It is about how the democratic process works in a moneyed environment. No one questions that cable news is a wholly partisan affair; all these networks are more rapidly selling a view point (or vying for your attention RIGHT NOW) and are less and less about reporting news (indeed CNN's HLN even brought on a PSYCHIC to talk about the missing Malaysian plane!).

                What is at question here is the power of specific individual moneyed people being capable of donating exorbitant sums of money for a candidate's election. The obvious concern here is one of ethics: does the fact that I can fund a particular candidate billions of dollars impact at all how that candidate values my support? My argument is that if the answer is "yes" then democracy, citizen direct governing, is being subverted in favor of plutocracy, a money favored governing.

                It is easy to think that those with money create the paradigms that we live in. In fact those with money only allows those with new paradigms (or forgotten/unpopular ones) to flourish. Look at the 60/70s. The whole hippie (then free love/sex) thing was created because the young people had money that the young of old just never had. Prior to that time either the young where working to support a family (most often on a farm isolated from others), struggling to survive in the cities or controlled by their parents.
                Unsure what you mean. Are you saying that moneyed people never push their own personal agendas but rather put their money behind other agendas they don't believe in?



                Money provides more freedom? Of course! The more resources one has the more choices one has. We equate choice with freedom, no?

                Americas power has always been that we acknowledge this and embraced it.

                Americas weakness is that often the collective we thinks that only this freedom through assets is important.
                Maybe you misunderstand me. You are certainly talking about the marketplace, an area where money is what we use to measure value, worth, and 'power'. Rather I am talking about legal freedom and an equivalence of all citizens in the democratic governing process.

                For example this ruling has the potential, assuming that any candidate can be influenced by money devoted to getting the candidate elected, to grant more power to certain moneyed individuals. I have long believed that our democratic power as citizens merely begins with the right to vote. After that we have many other rights and duties. It is our right to be involved, to be informed, and to have as direct a hand as possible in our legislative process. Obviously, not everyone can nor wants to, but among those that do there should be no inequality among men.

                I hold that the fact that lobbying groups and that single person donations, have more control/influence over the legislative process than the majority of Americans as evidence of the fact that money being directly injected into politics is anti-democratic and more indicative of an oligarchical structure which favors, of course, big money. This then bends the function of government away from being a framework for everyone and turns it to being the mechanism of the few to enact their will.

                Otherwise, if money in politics meant more freedom, why are we unable to buy cars directly from car manufacturers if they so please? (which would reduce costs to consumers significantly) The quick answer? Laws that were instated to create the car retailer industry.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: America; if money is freedom, then does having more money mean you are more free?

                  Indeed a recent study has concluded that the moneyed interests have had more power in American policy making (IE legislation/law) than the majority citizens.

                  http://www.princeton.edu/~mgilens/Gi...s%203-7-14.pdf

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