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Lucid Lang: “Fiscal Speech”

January 26, 2010

Last week’s U.S. Supreme Court decision to lift spending limits on political contributions removes “free” from “free speech.”

Corrupt corporations and queasy conglomerates now have the ability for limitless spending on ads, further dwarfing the messages from small groups such as non-profits supporting the poor as well as environmental and educational advocates.

Slimy stockholders and despicable directors now hold the purse (and puppet) strings of the kooky “conservative” candidate that best protects their bottom line.

With exponential streaming slander possible, Wall Street swine have essentially priced Main Street soccer moms out of the market. (So much for equal rights.)

By overturning two precedents, the conservative-leaning justices said it was a return to principles of the First Amendment.

The new ruling, however, switches the amendment’s subject from singular citizens and small groups to corporations and labor unions that essentially represent small power centers, not the majority of the citizenry.

The amendment was added the constitution as an affirmation of civil liberties — you know — the establishment of protections for the individual against the state.

The ruling, however, was an ominous cloud cast over the country’s semblance of an open society.

“If you cannot ban corporate spending on ads, how is it that you are allowed to ban corporate contributions to candidates?” asked Nathaniel Persily, a Columbia Law School professor in Monday’s New York Times. “That is the next shoe to drop.”

Star Tribune commentary editor D.J. Tice said corporations and other advocacy groups should have the same rights allotted to newspaper editorials that endorse candidates. His newspaper forum example says the paper’s investment interests influence the campaigns at critical junctures.

However, a newspaper editorial, even at the height of print journalism, was a mere one-time influx of an opinion. It was held to ideals. The premise was fact-based, accountable and written in black and white.

If corporations can fund repeat advertisements, slander and sensationalism will rule – not issues, which newspaper positions are based on, unlike what Tice seems to believe.

Secondly, the track record of corporations is anti civil liberties. (Note top of mind examples such as: Fees on credit cards, reluctance to increase the minimum wage and routine exploitation of resources, labor, etc.)

Most importantly, the equal opportunity of every man is surrendered to those with the most money.

The era of “free speech” has morphed into an omnipotent era where “free” is this context no longer lucid.

Call it the era of “fiscal speech.”


For the record, the First Amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

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