Friday, January 22, 2010

Summary of Supremes dance

More on the recent Supreme Court ruling overturning campaign finance limits. Here is a brief summary of what the majority ruled in that decision:

  1. Money is speech. Now, to you and me, us moving our lips and actually, like, saying stuff is speech (or writing down what we would say and publishing it). But to the U.S. Supreme Court, money is the EXACT SAME THING as speech, and thereby restricting how much money you can spend is a restriction on free speech.. And Thomas Jefferson's grave could probably be harnessed for electrical generation purposes, it's spinning so fast at that notion.
  2. Property has rights. Corporations are property of their stockholders. But the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the property was the thing that had rights here, and did not even mention the owners of the corporation.
  3. Stockholders have twice the free speech rights of regular people. They not only have their individual right of free speech, but they also have the free speech rights of their property. In short, our rich and powerful who control our major corporations have twice the free speech rights of every other person in the nation even without considering the "money is speech" argument.
The intellectual bankruptcy of the U.S. Supreme Courts' ruling in this situation should be obvious to anybody with half a brain. This is as bad and as wrong-headed a decision as the Supreme Court decision that ended the Florida recount and selected George W. Bush as President in 2000, a decision which was so intellectually bankrupt itself that IN THAT VERY SAME DECISION the U.S. Supreme Court even disavowed it as a precedent, in essence writing it into public record that it was a bad decision being made for political purposes. This is what happens when you put Republicans in power -- they select Republican Supreme Court justices, who are just as intellectually bankrupt as the Republican Party itself. They are literally willing to say anything, no matter how stupid it sounds, if it furthers their cause of concentrating power into the hands of a few.

-- Badtux the Politics Penguin


  1. 'Tux, you misspelled "dunce."

  2. Point 3 assumes that all the shareholders or even a majority agree with the CEO and board. Sadly, corporate governance rules do not require the board to pay any attention to votes they don't approve of, regardless of the outcome..

  3. Corporance governance rules are specific to the corporation, not mandated by the SEC.

    Additionally, let's make sure we define exactly who "shareholders" of corporations are: 90% are NOT single persons. They are mutual funds who buy large blocks of stock; many under the proviso that their purchase comes with a Board seat (outlioned in every Annual Report.)

    Those mutual funds represent retirement funds, both individual and groups (like unions.)

    Boards certainly answer to shareholders: if you did something other than check the proxy box that comes in the mail from a public corporation and actually ATTEND an Annual Meeting, you'd know what I'm talking about.

    Board members are generally paid according to what shareholders value: ROI. If a Board member does not do that they suffer the slings and arrows from a nasty proxy battle (which is why you get ~several~ proxy selection cards come annual meeting time; don't just check and send. make a phone call to find out WTF is going on.)

    But like it or not, the fact has been around for 150 years or so that, indeed, in the eyes of many laws a corporation is a person with all the rights accorded to a non-citizen resident.

    It is what it is. I'm just surprised iot took so long for the Supremes to get to this. Yoiu gotta admit it's gonna Fall 2010 a very interesting period.

    FWIW: one of the primary reasons I did NOT vote for McLame is BECAUSE of that abortion of a campaign finance bill.

    Let folks freely give all the $$$ they want IF:

    1) It's not tax deductible

    2) It is clearly disclosed oin the innerweb for all to see.

  4. Yeah, RCC. I'm going to spend a few hundred bucks on a plane ticket to NY, frex, and hundreds more on a hotel room so I can cast the vote on 127.462 shares in person.

    But, as you pointed out, the big share holders are the CEO's buddies running the mutual funds. If there's a proxy fight, my ability to influence it, is 0, to about 12 decimal places.

    What fact has been around for 150 years? That a company is a person? I do believe you pulled that out of your ass. Recheck your facts.

    So, you're fine with corporate serfdom. Have a nice life.



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