Thursday, October 24, 2013

The First Amendment Often Protects Bribes More Than Speech!!

The First Amendment, as now interpreted by the government or the Supreme Court, has turned into a pathetic joke; which often provides much more protection for virtual bribes, which it was never intended to protect, than for speech, which is supposed to be protected.

The vast majority of us have our right to free speech protected as long as we only speak where few if anyone is listening; which a relatively small percentage of the public buys up almost all the air time that can get messages across to a much larger audience. this means that there is one standard for low profile speech while high profile speech is virtually monopolized by an elite ruling class that controls which candidates get coverage in the commercial media and what political information we receive about them.

Antonin Scalia may have made it clear in another of his recent statements how even he thinks speech should be protected as described in the following excerpt from Democracy now:

AMY GOODMAN: During the oral arguments, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said, quote, "By having these limits you are promoting democratic participation, then the little people will count some, and you won’t have the super-affluent as the speakers that will control the elections." Justice Antonin Scalia responded somewhat sarcastically by saying, quote, "I assume that a law that only—only prohibits the speech of 2 percent of the country is okay." That was Scalia.

BURT NEUBORNE: And that’s the—that’s the gulf that divides the court on these cases. Justice Ginsburg thinks that we should use campaign finance reform to advance equality, so that everybody has a roughly equal political influence. Scalia says, "Look, if you’re rich, you’re entitled to have as much influence as you can buy." And that’s now been the collision, and the Scalia side has won five-to-four consistently in recent years.

AMY GOODMAN: At a rally outside the Supreme Court Tuesday, Senator Bernie Sanders said unlimited private spending undermines U.S. democracy.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: The bottom line here is that if we do not want to move this nation to an oligarchic form of society, where a handful of billionaires can determine the outcome of these elections, then it is imperative not only that we overturn Citizens United, but that we put a lid on how much people can contribute in elections. Freedom of speech, in my view, does not mean the freedom to buy the United States government.
Complete article

This was taken partially out of context; if you review the original Scalia made his comment before Ginsburg. The following comments from Justice Stephen Breyer haven't received as much attention although perhaps they should have.

There are apparently, from the Internet, 200 people in the United States who would like to give $117,000 or more. We're telling them: You can't; you can't support your beliefs. That is a First Amendment negative.

But that tends to be justified on the other side by the First Amendment positive, because if the average person thinks that what he says exercising his First Amendment rights just can't have an impact through public opinion upon his representative, he says: What is the point of the First Amendment? And that's a First Amendment point. All right. So that's basic, I think.

Now, once that's so, Congress has leeway. And you are saying, and I have seen all over the place, that that's why we don't want those 200 people to spend more than 117- or 120,000 because the average person thinks the election is -- after the election all the actions are affected by the pocketbook and not by the merits of the First Amendment arguments. McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission oral arguments PDF

This basic concept isn't mentioned nearly as often in the mainstream media as it could or should be. Instead they treat it as if everyone knows it but when they make their decisions they seem to ignore it. They could easily acknowledge that there is an obvious bias in the way they're setting up the system. The public airwaves are supposed to belong to everyone, and the Cable and Satellite industries are dependent on the government regulation to enable them to have a reliable medium. The Satellite industry goes one step further, since it is benefiting from technology made available from work done by NASA at government expense, yet they're under no obligation to give more access to free speech to a large percentage of the public. All this speech must be bought and paid for and the media profits off of corporate welfare they get in return for nothing.

In return for the regulatory benefits and investments from NASA they could be required to give air time to alternative candidates and views that aren't paid for in order to even the playing field.

This isn't even discussed in a high profile manner. Nor do those without political power and money for lawyers have the opportunity to get their views before the public or the Supreme Court, unlike Shaun McCutcheon, who wants to increase his advantage over the rest of us.

Antonin Scalia's comments may have been interpreted as sarcastic by some but his interpretation of the first amendment clearly seems to apply to that "2 percent" even if it is used to drown out the other 98%. With the commercial media consolidated into six conglomerates that have a common economic ideology they can maintain an overwhelming amount of control of the mass speech in this country and the vast majority of us have little or no opportunity to get our views across.

To the best of my knowledge Antonin Scalia had few if any objections when Adbusters attempted to buy "uncommercials" and the networks refused to air them, as i ahve previously reported, 'Adbusters also attempted to buy time on ABC, NBC, and CBS for a spot declaring the day after Thanksgiving, "Buy Nothing Day." None of the major networks would run the ad. Richard Gitter, NBC's vice president of advertising standards and program compliance, says that NBC doesn't air controversial ads. Gitter continued with more candor, "this action was taken in self-interest. It was a spot telling people, in effect, to ignore our advertisers" (Oldenburg).'

Antonin Scalia didn't have any objections either when alternative candidates attempted to participate in the presidential debates but the Commission on Presidential Debates decided that only those that they approved could be allowed to get their views across. The most important debates for the elections were blatantly censored so that only those with political power would have a chance to be heard by the vast majority of the public, enabling the Mass Media to portray alternative candidates, as "non-viable." If they weren't actually "viable" it is only because they were censored by the Mass Media who only covers those that buy up enough time to be considered "viable." (This was covered more in past blogs about the debates including, Occupy the Commission on Presidential Debates!! and Could alternative debates be a game changer?)

What this essentially means is that in order for candidates to be "viable" they're required to collect enough bribes, thinly disguised as campaign contributions, to buy up air time from the commercial media, which makes an enormous profit by selling propaganda to at least partially rig elections.

Oil companies have their propaganda running almost non-stop on the commercial media while the reports of many of the disasters that are caused by the oil companies get less coverage and they’re routinely treated as isolated incidents. At the same time when protesters try to draw more attention to them they’re routinely arrested on flimsy charges like trespassing. These disasters are costing hundreds if not thousands or millions of lives; yet instead of investigating the oil companies for negligent mass murder they protect their rights to free speech and suppress the rights of their critics.

Monsanto and the Pharmaceutical companies are practically using the population of the United States as human research subjects, or guinea pigs, but instead of requiring them to disclose all their activities they pass laws making them trade secrets and protect their rights to free speech while suppressing the speech of their critics.

These companies all pass their advertising and lobbying expenses on to their customers; but they don’t pass on any influence to their customers; nor do their customers have the same rights to free speech. The same goes with the cost of lobbying against single payer health care. Insurance companies take money collected from customers premiums and instead of spending some of it on the coverage it was intended for they spend it on commercials lobbying against the best interest of the customer, while discussions of Single Payer are kept out of the commercial media.

If Antonin Scalia and many of the other people from corporate America, including Shaun McCutcheon have their way then a small number of people will be able to buy up the vast majority of information that many members of the public use to make their decisions. Technically votes might not be for sale but the speech that influences those votes are, which can come close to creating the same results.

What many people may not have even noticed is that while they’re debating rules about which circumstances people would be allowed to donate they avoid any discussion about who controls the election process, which is essentially a job interview for our elected officials.

The people that are supposedly hiring these elected officials are the members of the general public.

When a corporation hires someone they have control of the interview process. It would be perfectly reasonable for members of the public to assume that when they are the ones that hire their own elected officials they should have some control over the interview process.

Recent rulings including Citizen’s United, and perhaps, now McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, have given a small percentage of the public almost complete control of the debate and campaign process; while candidates that gain support at the grass roots level by addressing many of the most important issues hardly get any coverage and are treated as “fringe candidates” that don’t have a chance. The only candidates that are what they portray as “viable” are those that sell out the best interest of the vast majority of us.

Both Adolph Hitler and Vladimir Lenin made statements like, “A lie told often enough becomes the truth;” this is one of the most basic principles of basic propaganda; and it is clear that corporate America is doing this on a scale that is as large as either Lenin or Hitler ever did. They repeat over and over that candidates should control the interview process and no one ever suggest to the majority of the public that since they’re the ones that are supposedly hiring these elected officials that they should have their fair share of control over the interview process.

The current system clearly puts the control of the interview process in the hands of those that buy up all the speech.

Setting up a system where the public has more control of what questions are asked of the candidates and the public has opportunities to hear from all candidates, not just those approved by the corporate contributors, might take some experimenting but if the refuse to even discuss it they can keep the control of the system in the hands of the most corrupt!

Supreme Court weighs limits on campaign donations

Big Oil claims the right to bribe under the First Amendment. Taking the Fifth is more appropriate.

"I tell you they're gifts."

"Did the congressman also give you a gift of a similar value, perhaps like many of us exchange Christmas gifts?"

"I'm sure he did although I don't recall."

"If these 'gifts' were recorded would they show a pattern where much higher value 'gifts' are given to Congressmen that just happen to benefit the donors while the return 'gifts' tend to be of little or no value unless beneficial legislation is considered which would dramatically dwarf the value of the 'gifts' from the donor, at taxpayers expense?"

"Huh, I don't understand the question."

"Take your time and think about it; you might figure it out."

Additional information on the subject is available in the following pages:

First Amendment Violation Silences the Press These 20 Senators Have Committed Treason!

Lobbyist Bribes Congress -"I Paid a Bribe"

Bill Gates’ AstroTurf in Education (Privatisation for Profit) Recruits More Lobbyists, Necessitates More Bribes

Big Oil Uses The Money They Stole From Us To Bribe Our Reps To Defeat A Bill To Curb Their Avarice

Six Billion Reportedly Spent on Election Campaign

Kick them all out!

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