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The obligatory post about yesterday's terrible Supreme Court ruling

by: Eric B.

Thu Apr 03, 2014 at 11:21:24 AM EDT

"She could not quite make out what they were saying, but she could hear the greed." -- A Storm of Swords

It was a bit of a busy, hectic day yesterday, what with Lisa Brown being outed as Mark Schauer's running mate and the non-stop obsession among our political media of what fucking sandwich the president got at Zingerman's (did you know that he didn't order a full-size sandwich?). So, this got overlooked.

Roberts said Wednesday that neither Congress nor the states can regulate campaign finance “simply to reduce the amount of money in politics.” This prohibition extends to regulation of contributions, which he said involve “the right to participate in choosing our political leaders.”

All of which means, in effect, that the more money flowing through the system the better. Those who, from lack of money, are muted or excluded from the process are simply losers in a fair democratic system.

This is silly, unserious reasoning from a silly, unserious court. It's also a short-term bet against the long-term sustainability of the republic. Our Founding Fathers sought a constitutional framework in part ot prevent us from being swamped by the corrupting influence of entrenched wealth in Europe. They didn't do it so that a very wealthy minority could siphon off the nation of its riches for their own benefiit. That's what the Supreme Court has done here, and gussied it up with fancy-sounding law talk so that otherwise intelligent people will accept it.

We supposed to pretend that the courts exist solely to interpret the law and are not subject to the changing nature of our society, and that the Constitution is somehow an unchanging document. That, too, is horseshit, because the Constitution wasn't itself written in some kind of vacuum. It was written by people to deal with real-life events. For instance, that amendment barring the government from quartering troops in your home, the third one? Written and adopted because the British were doing that. Our courts no more than the people who wrote the Constitution live in the real world where you think through the implications of your decisions. And the idea that money is speech, and that more campaign money is more speech is, as I said, silly and unserious.

Eric B. :: The obligatory post about yesterday's terrible Supreme Court ruling
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So the next step is something like a donor matching service
Something probably like Craigslist, where donors who've maxed out their giving in one part of the country are matched with donors in another part, and they each agree to donate the max to the other donor's preferred candidates.

That is, Billionaire "RMS" in California (along with his wife) gives the maximum contributions to 100 federal and state candidates in the Golden State. [($2,600+$2,600)x100=$520,000]

One of his people would consult the service and see that Billionaire "DD" in Michigan (and his wife) are willing to match the contributions of others. For his part, Mr. and Mrs. "DD" maximized THEIR contributions to 100 candidates in Michigan.

In a matter of hours, the lackeys for "RMS" and "DD" have exchanged their masters' lists, and soon after another $1.04 million gets showered on the lucky 200 in California and Michigan.

Lather, rinse, repeat ad infinitum.

The candidates benefiting don't even have to cold call -- the various donors' minions simply coordinate (or collude) to ensure that none of them exceeds the per-candidate limit.

The state parties can claim to have had nothing to do with it (and possibly even mean it!), and no one has to give anything to middlemen like Karl Rove.

Just goes to show what a farce the remaining limits on campaign finance really are -- and clearly, they are ALL doomed to be everturned in short order (exactly as "Silent Clarence" prefers), unless the Court's membership changes SOON.

"The two most common elements in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity." ~ Harlan Ellison

As Dr. Baugh would say...
The legendary* Dr. Joyce Baugh pointed out that no matter how much we want the courts to be independent, one can never completely remove politics from the courts.

To wit: This.

*She's a legend at CMU, anyway.

Now on Great Lakes, Great Times, Great Scott: Cotter vs. Jesus and Reagan

No one expects politics to be completely removed
But neither does anyone (aside from the Pete Petersons, Foster Freisses, Matty Morouns and Dick DeVoses of the world) expect the Court to be SO partisan, SO cynical, SO willing to ignore precedent in order to trample the rights of the many to enhance the power of a few.

"The two most common elements in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity." ~ Harlan Ellison

[ Parent ]
I can't help but laugh at Foster Friess
Here's what I wrote about him two years ago in LOL, Foster Friess=Foster's Freeze.
When I first heard Friess's name, I thought "this has to be a joke; who the hell is named after an ice cream stand?" Yes, there is a fast food chain specializing in soft serve ice cream in California called Foster's Freeze. Even better, it used to be called Foster's Old Fashioned Freeze.

Put the two names together, and the result is this:

Greetings from Detroit, Ground Zero of the post-industrial future!

[ Parent ]
I have a modest proposal
It's inspired by the final scene in The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, in which the emperorship was sold at auction.

Let's do away with elections altogether and sell political offices online, with the proceeds going to the federal or state treasury. That would cut out the middlemen (media consultants, pollsters, strategists, etc.) and help reduce the deficit. It would also provide greater transparency, since the person who bought the office would have to show up and claim it.

On a more serious note, "money equals speech" is one of the dumbest and most destructive ideas in the history of the Republic, and could well result in it not remaining a republic much longer.

A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always count on the support of Paul.

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