17 September 2009

It's good to be a corporation

Last week, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case of Citizens United v. FEC, which began life as a censorship case but has metastasized into a potential ruling which could grant corporations nearly unlimited access to the government in the form of campaign donations.
Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, and Clarence Thomas are already on record wanting to overturn these cases. Justice Samuel Alito and Chief Justice John Roberts have been inclined to wait. The question today is whether we wait no more.
See also last week's podcast of This is Hell.

Needless to say, if this succeeds the final barrier to a complete, unabashed oligarchy will be broken. Though perhaps it's just a matter of time, anyway, as we've apparently already established that money = speech. So presumably, if you have more money, you have more speech, and I kinda thought eliminating those people with "more speech" was the point of democracy. Oh well.

Meanwhile, the Beckites are getting their jollies over an apparent sting operation on the community group ACORN, which has become the white whale* of the right. Congress is on the ball, though, voting to cut federal benefits to ACORN with the benefit only of evidence from a fratty right-wing filmmaker whose previous "expose" involved promising donations to Planned Parenthood only if the money was used to abort black fetuses.

ACORN has received a grand total of $53 million in federal funds over the last 15 years -- an average of $3.5 million per year. Meanwhile, not millions, not billions, but trillions of dollars of public funds have been, in the last year alone, transferred to or otherwise used for the benefit of Wall Street. Billions of dollars in American taxpayer money vanished into thin air, eaten by private contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan, led by Halliburton subsidiary KBR. All of those corporate interests employ armies of lobbyists and bottomless donor activities that ensure they dominate our legislative and regulatory processes, and to be extra certain, the revolving door between industry and government is more prolific than ever, with key corporate officials constantly ending up occupying the government positions with the most influence over those industries.
That's some real brave corruption-fightin' right there. Obviously, ACORN's real mistake was not dumping 1.3 million PCB's into the Hudson River.

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*Color of whale may vary, if you know what I mean.