By Cory Doctorow at 8:40 am Sat, Jan 14, 2012
The Colbert Super-PAC steams on with excellent and helpful election ads like this one, starring candidate Buddy Roemer, who did not coordinate with the Super-PAC in any way.
Colbert Super PAC Ad - Undaunted Non-Coordination
(via Flogging Babel)
Pat Paulsen sends his blessings from beyond the grave, by the way.
If we’re not going to abolish corporate personhood can we at least amend the Constitution to make clear that it only applies to natural persons and not legal fantasy creations?
Only if you’re willing to spend the next decade working on the issue at both the state and federal levels, all across the country, rather than cynically throwing your hands up in the air in frustration, declaring that “they’re all the same”, voting for worthless protest candidates, and/or rejecting incrementalism and compromise.
So yeah, we can fix it. Just takes hard work, time, and rejecting the sort of cynical bullshit that passes for political thought among the sorta folks found around here…
You’re quickly becoming my favorite commenter.
I agree with you Gideon for the most part. But, I don’t find boingboing threads to be worse than anywhere else when it comes to being cynical about the effects of voting.
Anyway, I do hope more Americans start to realize lesser evil is less evil and the more we keep voting in better alternatives (no matter how shitty they are), the better this country gets (slowly).
Keep voting in Bush/Cheney & McCain/Palin candidates and then we’ll really see what the bottom looks like. I have little doubt we’d be in a full-on second Great Depression if we’d voted in McCain/Palin instead of teetering on it. Less suffering is less suffering. Keep voting in lesser evils and one day we’ll be a better America than where we are now.
Also, join the OWS movement and continue to educate the others. I also hope people are noticing how corporatists are slowly backing away from draconian crap like PIPA/SOPA as we throw away cynism and get involved.
We only have ourselves to blame as Americans as America declines. Cynicism is intellectual laziness and it’s destructive and stupid.
I’m trying to figure out why we’re having a rash of multiple postings. Can you either e-mail me or tell me here why your comment showed up twice, please?
It posted twice in the same place one after another? I don’t know why it’s doing that, I’m not posting any differently than normal.
Update: come to think of it, there has been unusual delays lately after I click the submit button. Not too bad today though.
The number of double (or quintuple) postings has increased ten-fold in the last few days. I’m trying to figure out if people are resubmitting due to delays or if it’s a glitch.
It took generations to get the 1% to stop buying and selling people.
Good idea. Then we can use the new reality where corporations don’t have any Constitutional protections or guarantees of, say, due process, to interfere with, confiscate the property of, or just shut down all the corporations we don’t like. Like the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, the EFF…
Citizen’s United is all of two years old. Guess how many times corporations got “shut down” or had their constitutional guarantees stripped from them arbitrarily in the two and a half centuries before the decision? None.
This is a straight up right-wing lie, where you run around telling anyone who thinks that Citizen’s United was a bad court decision, that reversing it would lead to all their favorite liberal orgs getting shut down. It’s just totally transparent.
“Citizen’s United is all of two years old. Guess how many times corporations got “shut down” or had their constitutional guarantees stripped from them arbitrarily in the two and a half centuries before the decision? None. ”
Bullshit. Total ahistorical bullshit. Lincoln shut down *newspapers* if they dared criticize him. Do you even bother *reading history* before you make false pronouncements based on it?
That aside, the *law* the Citizens United *overturned* is only *10 years old*, so if you want to point to cases where corporations had constitutional guarantees stripped from them by the law, then you don’t have a “two and a half centuries” window to pick and choose from, you only have a window since McCain-Feingold went into effect. And, hey, lookie there, Citizens United *had its constitutional guarantees stripped from it*, because the US Government tried to censor it from *publishing a documentary critical of Hillary Clinton*.
That’s free speech. That’s *exactly* the *type* of free speech that the First Amendment most exists to protect: *political speech*. Political speech *critical of entrenched powers*, mind you.
“It’s just totally transparent.”
Yeah, the government would *never* take advantage of powers given to it and abuse them in that fashion.
Lincoln’s action’s towards those newspapers were illegal, declared illegal at the time by the supreme court, and reversed. Just because we had a president who did something unconstitutional a century ago in the middle of fighting the Civil War, doesn’t mean that what he did was either OK, legal, constitutional, or a normal occurrence as you’d like to make it out to be.
And the government didn’t try and censor the Hillary doc. It could have been released and broadcast by a person. A person being entitled to 1st amendement protections of their speech. A person, not a corporation.
But of course, they weren’t actually interested in releasing it. Just in challenging our election laws and getting the newly rightwing supreme court to vacate a couple centuries of law as it relates to corporate power.
The asterisk button. It does not mean what I think you think it means.
Maybe you USians can then have real protection for corporations built on an a true framework for it, with real rights and responsibilities, real procedures for piercing the corporate veil when it’s necessary, based on past experience and solid theory, instead of a freaking hack around the definition of “persons” in your constitution, which when written, didn’t really envisage anything like this use?
Or maybe I’m just talking rot, and you’d rather work under a legal hack that creates more problems than it solves…
Too late, they already have unicorns
Satire: the only effing thing that makes sense in the political process anymore.
I’m pretty sure that’s at least two months old?
And therefore unworthy of discussion!
of course it is, and reposting it fits greatly with his candidacy, but “steaming on” made it sound like it was the most current one…
I absolutely love what Colbert is doing to expose how ridiculous these PACs and super-PACs are, but when will the audience reaction change from laughter to outrage?
You’re right, it’s utterly ridiculous that people can use their money to publicize their political speech, in flagrant violation of the First Amendment. We really need to cut down on that sort of thing. And while we’re at it, books, pamphlets, documentary films, they all need to go too, if they have any political content.
Funny, I seem to remember plenty of books, pamphlets, and documentary films about politics prior to two years ago when this insane court decision was made… but I guess we’re supposed to forget about what life was like three years ago? No one was shuttering the ACLU, no one was stopping you from talking about politics, no one was doing any of the crap you’re warning about.
“Funny, I seem to remember plenty of books, pamphlets, and documentary films about politics prior to two years ago when this insane court decision was made”
That’s probably because the law allowing the government to censor political speech which this “insane” court decision overturned only entered into effect in 2002. I can’t imagine *why* you’re unable to remember censorship of political speech predating the law which allowed it.
” No one was shuttering the ACLU, no one was stopping you from talking about politics”
Duh. Because the law didn’t allow it. Thankfully, thanks to this “insane” court decision, it still doesn’t.
Seriously, look at the friggin’ Pentagon Papers. The US had to sue the NYT in an attempt to prevent their publication, *because* the NYT has Constitutional protections of its speech and its publications. Under your brave new world in which corporations don’t have any Constitutional protections of any sort, because, you know, they’re not actual people, the US wouldn’t have to do that, it could just shutter the building and forbid the publication. This is the *actual endpoint of the argument you are making*, which should indicate to you how inimical to freedom it is.
The Pentagon Papers lawsuit was related to the freedom of the press portion of the 1st amendment, and has absolutely nothing to do with what was being argued in the Citizen’s United decision.
It’s rare to see someone so jizzed up about democracy for sale.
Almost as rare as it is to see people whose very livelihood depends upon free speech arguing that speech shouldn’t be free, or that a government that’s recently decided it has the right to lock up citizens without anything resembling due process should actually have even *more* power.
Everyone commenting here are natural people, not legal fictions. Funny though you mention locking people up when (a) the discussion has been about removing the rights legal fiction has taken that should only be given to natural people and (b) only natural people can be locked up, legal fiction cannot, which just goes to show that they really are two totally different things.
God, I hope Colbert runs. I hope he takes it as far as he possibly can. Hell, I hope he wins. He couldn’t do any worse.
Cause who needs competency in government, right?
We should totally give that a shot some day.
Yea because there are soooo many competent politicians ATM in D.C.
[Eye Roll ]
You might not like them or how they govern, but comparing them to Colbert (who I love) in terms of legislative competence is ludicrous.
I remember the year term limits kicked in in my state, and all the old-timers suddenly disappeared, replaced by a bunch of completely new people with zero background and nobody around to actually tell them how things worked… fucking terrifying. Sounded good on paper though, what with everyone’s hate and frustration with the current system.
Looking at the current crop of internet-related legislation (SOPA / PIPA etc) and their crazy-ass approach to law enforcement, I’d say one Colbert couldn’t do much worse.
Honestly: four years ago, when Obama was running, I had a glimpse of a hope that maybe, just maybe, putting an intelligent, capable man in charge would have improved the situation. He would have nominated intelligent people to the right positions… that intelligent man went on to appoint a shitload of corporatists and clintonites, agreeing to any pact with any devil who would propose one, reverting exactly zarro policies from the Bush years (although I have to give this to him: he hasn’t started any new war. Yet.)…
So to be honest, I think you’re screwed either way. Intelligent corporatists or moronic corporatists, they are all still corporatists.
Pretty sure we are. And have.
don’t get to see the vid in canada… perhaps elsewhere too.
Can someone post it to a better site that allows non american viewers?
“The Pentagon Papers lawsuit was related to the freedom of the press portion of the 1st amendment, and has absolutely nothing to do with what was being argued in the Citizen’s United decision.”
That’s very nice. The argument that “can we at least amend the Constitution to make clear that it only applies to natural persons and not legal fantasy creations,” which you seem to be endorsing, goes well beyond the Citizen’s United decision and most certainly does involve the freedom of press portion of the 1st Amendment.
“Lincoln’s action’s towards those newspapers were illegal, declared illegal at the time by the supreme court, and reversed.”
You have absolute no idea what you’re talking about. None. This indicates either that you should stop talking, or that you should look into something called the Dunning-Kruger effect. Papers were attacked by soldiers and demolished, and many of these papers never resumed publication. Nothing was “reversed.” How exactly does one “reverse” the barring of certain papers from using the mails to distribute their articles? By saying “okay, you can use the mails now,” months or years after you already stopped them from disseminating political speech, at which point the points being advocated in that speech are long-since overtaken by events? That’s a neat trick: “Now that the war’s over, you’re allowed to argue against going to war.” Exactly what Supreme Court decision are you even referring to? Near v. Minnesota wasn’t until *1931*.
“It could have been released and broadcast by a person. A person being entitled to 1st amendement protections of their speech. A person, not a corporation.”
Released how? By putting it online? No, that wouldn’t work, because then corporations would be involved and the government could prevent its dissemination. Getting it published on DVD? Well, no, because unless you’re running those copies off on your PC, you’d need to contract with a press to run off all those copies, and the government could just prevent it from doing so, since it’s a corporation and has no rights. Or even if you got together with some like-minded friends and ran off a bunch of copies, you’d need to hire some sort of delivery service to ship those DVDs all around, and whoops, that’s a corporation that has no rights so the government could just say “you’re not allowed to do that anymore.” And of course, since you’d be an utter fool to try to solicit all the investors and enter into all the contracts it would take in order to do the production of a documentary in the first place *without* limiting your personal liability by forming some variety of corporate entity, the chilling effect on speech would be enormous and profound.
But I get it. Samizdat’s okay. You can run off mimeographed pamphlets in your basement and hand them out at your local fifth column meetings. That’s okay. But if you want to actually widely disseminate your speech, well, that would require some sort of corporate involvement, which would give the government an avenue to bar your speech. Speak quietly to a few neighbors, and you’re okay, try to be heard by a wider, larger audience, and we get to shut you down.
It’s flabbergasting that you don’t see how that would only serve to further consolidate the powers of the already-rich-and-powerful. Rupert Murdoch could just say whatever he wants, as a private citizen, because he’s fuck-off wealthy and could afford the liability involved in hiring people to produce and publish and disseminate his speech. A bunch of folks who don’t like Rupert Murdoch? All they get to do is talk to each other.
Corporations are not people – until you can turn around and tell me it’s ok to jail *every* vp and above executive if the corp commits a crime – then the company shouldn’t have the rights of a citizen.
As soon as you give them free speech protections – you are basically endorsing the forced participation of a political process on the employees of the corp.
‘they don’t have to work there’ – I can already hear you cry… and to this I say… that argument is a strawman – if you take a look at our modern America – most of its citizens are no better than serfs desperate for work with little in the way of marketable skills. They live paycheck (even most educated citizens!) to paycheck because wages have deflated for the past 40 years relative to inflation. Moving to another job only carries weight if your skills are in need and scarce. Our masses are enslaved to debt and corporations that have used legal loopholes and fine print to sell out anyone they can without cause for a single tear to be shed in the lives of those ruined. Some are better than others I’ll grant you – but at the end of the day they are bred to run amok and trample the land in the pursuit of more profit. This is as it should be – it is how our society wanted it to be. They are not people however – also for a reason..
They do not deserve a voice in our political process. That’s what our citizens are for. The same people – mind you – that actually make up the corporation in question.
“Corporations are not people”
No, they’re not. Nobody says they are. Not a single one of the Justices writing on *either side* of the Citizens United decision makes that claim.
What’s most hysterical about this poorly-considered, ill-thought out, kneejerking reaction that corporations shouldn’t have any Constitutional rights is that, just up the page from this post, Boing Boing says it’s going to go dark to protest SOPA! A *corporation* (Happy Mutants LLC), engaging in *political speech* to protest a law which, if the “No Constitutional rights for corporations!” people had their way, *wouldn’t even need to be passed*, since corporations wouldn’t enjoy any right to due process and could just be unplugged from the internet at the government’s whim. The irony, you are *bathing in it*.
“As soon as you give them free speech protections – you are basically endorsing the forced participation of a political process on the employees of the corp.”
… just up the page from this post, Boing Boing says it’s going to go dark to protest SOPA! A *corporation* (Happy Mutants LLC), engaging in *political speech* to protest a law…The irony, you are *bathing in it*.
Please feel free to distinguish between making a protest and buying a politician by making contributions.
What’s most hysterical about this poorly-considered, ill-thought out, kneejerking reaction…
You have made irony! Please tone down your hysterical, poorly-considered, ill-thought out, kneejerking language. kthxbai
kthxbai is the last refuge of the scoundrel.
Phanatic’s points are well expressed and correct. Instead of tackling his assertion that no Justice declared corporations persons or his observations about the unintended consequences…you throw out non-sequitors and ad hominem attacks.
He’s insulted the other commenters. I gave him back his own words. “Poorly-considered, ill-thought out, kneejerking” doesn’t strike me as “well expressed’ so much as frothing at the mouth.
Like I said above, what I’d like to see for the US (and the rest of the world for that matter) is “corporate” rights and responsibilities (I don’t know if you’d call them corporations after this, of course) be enshrined in constitutions and legal codes in a manner that recognizes that they are not persons, but are associations of persons, instead of a legal hack.
Free speech, for example, is for persons. If they choose to exercise it in an association, that is their right. But you don’t need to make the association into a “person”, and hide all the people making that association behind it. Instead, you could probably make the people behind it visible, but treated as a collective. Sort of how torts or labour unions work today.
What we need isn’t to restrict corporate speech per se. We need to make it transparent, so that it’s clear who’s really speaking, and to allow an equal playing field for opposing ideas. Money is not the evil here. Unaccountable money is.
Wait a minute, Rainbow is a pegasus, not a unicorn! Who fact-checked this ad?
The thing people did not initially realise about freedom of speech is that some people can become powerful enough to speak so loudly that they drown out the voices of everyone else (this was not really possible in the 18th Century). PACs and Super PACs and Citizens United are all the outcomes of this. It is not a good thing for democracy. If we accepts that the best system has political capital more-or-less equitably distributed, we cannot accept easy fungibility between political capital and (highly unequally distributed) economic capital. It will complicate matters somewhat, but what we have now is increasingly unworkable.
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