US Supreme Court - Brought to you by Koch Industries

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US Supreme Court - Brought to you by Koch Industries

Postby eran_rathan » Wed Apr 02, 2014 3:16 pm UTC

Well there's this:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/poli ... 3351.story

thanks the gods that rich people don't have to put up with those filthy middle and under-class people disturbing their election gaming any more.

Ought to just put pricetags on the elected seats.


On the other hand, maybe this will push enough states to call for a Constitutional Convention (19 states have so far, in regards to putting in place an amendment to overturn Citizens United).
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Re: US Supreme Court - Brought to you by Koch Industries

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Apr 02, 2014 5:22 pm UTC

In fairness, thanks to PACs, this was essentially already happening.

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Re: US Supreme Court - Brought to you by Koch Industries

Postby leady » Wed Apr 02, 2014 7:20 pm UTC

Even if you hate the potential consequences, the logic of the ruling is far more sound than 5:4 - blame that pesky 1st amendment

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Re: US Supreme Court - Brought to you by Koch Industries

Postby Someguy945 » Wed Apr 02, 2014 7:24 pm UTC

leady wrote:Even if you hate the potential consequences, the logic of the ruling is far more sound than 5:4 - blame that pesky 1st amendment


Here's the constitutional scholar who knows more than the 4 justices who voted against the ruling.

The 1st amendment protects free speech. It does not define what "speech" is. The Supreme Court decided whether or not spending money should be considered a protected form of speech.

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Re: US Supreme Court - Brought to you by Koch Industries

Postby cphite » Wed Apr 02, 2014 7:44 pm UTC

Funny that people always zero on in the Koch brothers...

If you rank the biggest political donors over the past 25 years, Koch Industries is ranked 59th. And if you look at recent years, they fall even further down the list. Really, as far as political donors go, the Koch folks are small potatoes.

In fact, the largest single republican-leaning organization in terms of political donation - the United Parcel Service - is ranked 17th overall. The 16 above them are all either democrat-leaning, or relatively neutral.

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Re: US Supreme Court - Brought to you by Koch Industries

Postby leady » Wed Apr 02, 2014 7:45 pm UTC

How is spending money advocating your political viewpoint anything but the most important type of speech? (unless of course its the wrong type of speech)

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Re: US Supreme Court - Brought to you by Koch Industries

Postby LaserGuy » Wed Apr 02, 2014 7:55 pm UTC

cphite wrote:Funny that people always zero on in the Koch brothers...

If you rank the biggest political donors over the past 25 years, Koch Industries is ranked 59th. And if you look at recent years, they fall even further down the list. Really, as far as political donors go, the Koch folks are small potatoes.

In fact, the largest single republican-leaning organization in terms of political donation - the United Parcel Service - is ranked 17th overall. The 16 above them are all either democrat-leaning, or relatively neutral.


Er, Koch are #12 overall in contributions for the 2014 cycle. [edit]That's a pretty significant sum for private individuals, I'd imagine.
Last edited by LaserGuy on Wed Apr 02, 2014 8:20 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: US Supreme Court - Brought to you by Koch Industries

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Apr 02, 2014 8:07 pm UTC

leady wrote:How is spending money advocating your political viewpoint anything but the most important type of speech? (unless of course its the wrong type of speech)


Political speech is definitely among the most protected speech, yes. And it pretty much has to be. I do wish that elections were not quite so much a fundraising and advertising circus(and I suspect the four dissenting judges feel similarly), but...that's kind of the status quo regardless. It seems to be mostly inescapable given our system, and hell, money seems to influence politics heavily just about everywhere, regardless of system.

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Re: US Supreme Court - Brought to you by Koch Industries

Postby Enokh » Wed Apr 02, 2014 8:27 pm UTC

leady wrote:How is spending money advocating your political viewpoint anything but the most important type of speech? (unless of course its the wrong type of speech)


I think (or perhaps imagine) that the idea is basically: By allowing unlimited donations, you're effectively censoring the voice of poorer people due to the overwhelming influence of billionaires.

Basically: If spending money in order to advocate your political viewpoint is the equivalent of a town hall meeting where everyone is allowed to stand up (in turn) and express their opinions, then allowing unlimited donations is the equivalent of having to purchase the ability to express your opinions by the minute; rich people not only get more minutes, but have the ability to use those minutes to get regulations passed to up the cost of those minutes until poor people just can't afford them.

Or something.

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Re: US Supreme Court - Brought to you by Koch Industries

Postby CorruptUser » Wed Apr 02, 2014 8:27 pm UTC

You don't see it as a problem that some people can "speak" much more loudly than others? Especially when those people by definition have already benefited the most from society? And especially problematic that they can use pre-tax corporate "speech" allowing them to "speak" more loudly than someone with a similar "lung capacity"?

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Re: US Supreme Court - Brought to you by Koch Industries

Postby Xeio » Wed Apr 02, 2014 8:52 pm UTC

cphite wrote:United Parcel Service
How did I never know what UPS stood for before today?

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Re: US Supreme Court - Brought to you by Koch Industries

Postby sardia » Wed Apr 02, 2014 10:48 pm UTC

cphite wrote:Funny that people always zero on in the Koch brothers...

If you rank the biggest political donors over the past 25 years, Koch Industries is ranked 59th. And if you look at recent years, they fall even further down the list. Really, as far as political donors go, the Koch folks are small potatoes.

In fact, the largest single republican-leaning organization in terms of political donation - the United Parcel Service - is ranked 17th overall. The 16 above them are all either democrat-leaning, or relatively neutral.

https://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/list.php
I found your source, and it specifically states
"For example, this list does not include casino magnate Sheldon Adelson. He and his wife Miriam donated nearly $93 million in 2012 alone to conservative super PACs — enough to put him at No. 2 on this list. Similarly, the list excludes former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has donated more than $19 million in the past two years, largely to groups that support gun control. Neither Adelson nor Bloomberg — or the organizations they report as their employers — qualifies as a "heavy hitter" under our current definition. It's also important to note that we aren't including donations to politically active dark money groups, like Americans for Prosperity, a group linked to the Koch brothers, or the liberal group Patriot Majority — because these groups hide their donors; see a list of top donors that we've been able to identify to such groups. We are working to revise this list to take into account the new realities of campaign finance created by the Citizens United decision, but as it currently stands, there are significant omissions."
It's not even that the source is terrible, but you are putting it way out of context. What a surprise, the Koch brothers aren't included on a list that specifically doesn't include the Koch brothers?

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Re: US Supreme Court - Brought to you by Koch Industries

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Apr 03, 2014 2:57 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:You don't see it as a problem that some people can "speak" much more loudly than others? Especially when those people by definition have already benefited the most from society? And especially problematic that they can use pre-tax corporate "speech" allowing them to "speak" more loudly than someone with a similar "lung capacity"?


I suspect that there is no way to truly solve the first problem. You cannot stop people from spending money to push issues without blatantly stifling anything like free speech entirely.

Taxation, well...that's fuzzier. I am less concerned about this, though. Taxation avoiding tricks are available to everyone playing at that level. Meh. I pretty much assume that this is the de facto state of affairs for the upper level all round.

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Re: US Supreme Court - Brought to you by Koch Industries

Postby CorruptUser » Thu Apr 03, 2014 3:53 am UTC

I just don't think that corporations should be allowed to do anything that isn't ostensibly for the betterment of society; that's why corporate charters were created in the first place. Making profit does benefit society, so long as there is consumer surplus of course. Campaign donations, not so much. The politicians receiving the donations would disagree.

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Re: US Supreme Court - Brought to you by Koch Industries

Postby Someguy945 » Thu Apr 03, 2014 3:54 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:You don't see it as a problem that some people can "speak" much more loudly than others? Especially when those people by definition have already benefited the most from society? And especially problematic that they can use pre-tax corporate "speech" allowing them to "speak" more loudly than someone with a similar "lung capacity"?


I very much hate the ruling, but as devil's advocate, if we take "spending money" away, there will still be other groups of people that can speak much more loudly than others, right?

For example, the owner of a major news media corporation can speak much more loudly than you can, right?

And if you have enough money, you can buy a major new media corporation, right?

I don't know what's to be done.

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Re: US Supreme Court - Brought to you by Koch Industries

Postby CorruptUser » Thu Apr 03, 2014 4:04 am UTC

I don't have too much of a problem with individuals donating to campaigns. It's just when that money comes from organizations (not specifically set up for that purpose) that I get upset.

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Re: US Supreme Court - Brought to you by Koch Industries

Postby Derek » Thu Apr 03, 2014 7:39 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:I just don't think that corporations should be allowed to do anything that isn't ostensibly for the betterment of society; that's why corporate charters were created in the first place.

Citation needed. Here is what Wikipedia says about the earlier modern corporations:
The point was that the incorporation would survive longer than the lives of any particular member, existing in perpetuity...Many European nations chartered corporations to lead colonial ventures, such as the Dutch East India Company or the Hudson's Bay Company. These chartered companies became the progenitors of the modern corporation. Acting under a charter sanctioned by the Dutch government, the Dutch East India Company defeated Portuguese forces and established itself in the Moluccan Islands in order to profit from the European demand for spices.


A bit later there is this juicy paragraph:
In the late 18th century, Stewart Kyd, the author of the first treatise on corporate law in English, defined a corporation as:
a collection of many individuals united into one body, under a special denomination, having perpetual succession under an artificial form, and vested, by policy of the law, with the capacity of acting, in several respects, as an individual, particularly of taking and granting property, of contracting obligations, and of suing and being sued, of enjoying privileges and immunities in common, and of exercising a variety of political rights, more or less extensive, according to the design of its institution, or the powers conferred upon it, either at the time of its creation, or at any subsequent period of its existence.
—A Treatise on the Law of Corporations, Stewart Kyd (1793–1794)

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Re: US Supreme Court - Brought to you by Koch Industries

Postby addams » Thu Apr 03, 2014 9:01 am UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:
leady wrote:How is spending money advocating your political viewpoint anything but the most important type of speech? (unless of course its the wrong type of speech)


Political speech is definitely among the most protected speech, yes. And it pretty much has to be. I do wish that elections were not quite so much a fundraising and advertising circus(and I suspect the four dissenting judges feel similarly), but...that's kind of the status quo regardless. It seems to be mostly inescapable given our system, and hell, money seems to influence politics heavily just about everywhere, regardless of system.

You wrote, Political speech is definitely among the most protected speech
That statement is False.
Anything built on it will be False, also.

The US does not protect the freedom to speak of the individual.
I Know! I was asked to speak! I was Not protected!

The individual's right to speak was a sweet thing once upon a time.
We did not have loud speakers.

We did not have TV, the Internet, Loud Booming Bands.
We had our own voices and three minutes or five minutes, depending upon the day.

This nation has, in fifteen years, excelled as only she can.
We have become one of the if not The Most Corrupt Nation on The Planet.

Any corrupt is too corrupt.
This nation has been moving backwards and attempting to make everyone else go with us.

It is not really the fault of the people.
The people are so severely impoverished and undereducated that the people are helpless like children.
Big Mean Strong Uncared for Frightened Children.
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Re: US Supreme Court - Brought to you by Koch Industries

Postby leady » Thu Apr 03, 2014 9:10 am UTC

Enokh wrote:I think (or perhaps imagine) that the idea is basically: By allowing unlimited donations, you're effectively censoring the voice of poorer people due to the overwhelming influence of billionaires.

Basically: If spending money in order to advocate your political viewpoint is the equivalent of a town hall meeting where everyone is allowed to stand up (in turn) and express their opinions, then allowing unlimited donations is the equivalent of having to purchase the ability to express your opinions by the minute; rich people not only get more minutes, but have the ability to use those minutes to get regulations passed to up the cost of those minutes until poor people just can't afford them.

Or something.


Oh I get why people are happy to trample over constitutions and their intent for pollitical gain, but I'm going to go out on a limb and without reading the 1st amendment (hell I already know vastly more about the US rather than UK political systems) and say there is no "unless you are too loud or good at it" clause :)

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Re: US Supreme Court - Brought to you by Koch Industries

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Apr 03, 2014 2:03 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:I just don't think that corporations should be allowed to do anything that isn't ostensibly for the betterment of society; that's why corporate charters were created in the first place. Making profit does benefit society, so long as there is consumer surplus of course. Campaign donations, not so much. The politicians receiving the donations would disagree.


CorruptUser wrote:I don't have too much of a problem with individuals donating to campaigns. It's just when that money comes from organizations (not specifically set up for that purpose) that I get upset.


Why does the distinction matter? Corporations are composed of individuals, and, in practice, it's a guy at the top making the call. Does it really matter so much if the check is made out by Koch Industries or directly from one of the Koch brothers? The same influence is weilded either way.

In practice, this would only really hamper the little people, who would be less able to organize to have an effect. The multibillionares can do whatever either way, but an individual small donation...meh. Massing into groups allows a unified message and at least a little actual pull. It's the lobbyist problem all over again.

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Re: US Supreme Court - Brought to you by Koch Industries

Postby Sizik » Thu Apr 03, 2014 2:03 pm UTC

Perhaps instead of defining all rights on a person level and granting rights to corporations as if they were people, we could define rights on the corporation level, with each individual person being automatically granted an inalienable one-person corporation.
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Re: US Supreme Court - Brought to you by Koch Industries

Postby Heisenberg » Thu Apr 03, 2014 3:25 pm UTC

leady wrote:How is spending money advocating your political viewpoint anything but the most important type of speech? (unless of course its the wrong type of speech)

Speech is words coming out of your mouth.
Spending is money coming out of your wallet.

One of these is protected by the first amendment.

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Re: US Supreme Court - Brought to you by Koch Industries

Postby Prefanity » Thu Apr 03, 2014 3:57 pm UTC

Heisenberg wrote:
leady wrote:How is spending money advocating your political viewpoint anything but the most important type of speech? (unless of course its the wrong type of speech)

Speech is words coming out of your mouth.
Spending is money coming out of your wallet.

One of these is protected by the first amendment.


I take it the written word doesn't count then either.

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Re: US Supreme Court - Brought to you by Koch Industries

Postby leady » Thu Apr 03, 2014 4:12 pm UTC

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


I'm sure justices have argued this all to death, but I can't see how such a statement that clearly covers political activities and publishing and clearly has an intent of preventing any restrictions can be interpretted that political donations can be constrained because "speech" allows for wiggle room.

Otherwise it would have read

"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. This clause is deemed invalid when inconvienent to the current political viewpoints of the supreme court, upon which arguing the definitions of "speech", "press", "peaceful", "people", "government" are all up for legitimate means for circumventing the intent of this amendment"

:) (which is exactly the level of constitutional protection the US has in practice and UK explicitly has)

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Re: US Supreme Court - Brought to you by Koch Industries

Postby addams » Thu Apr 03, 2014 4:31 pm UTC

Prefanity wrote:
Heisenberg wrote:
leady wrote:How is spending money advocating your political viewpoint anything but the most important type of speech? (unless of course its the wrong type of speech)

Speech is words coming out of your mouth.
Spending is money coming out of your wallet.

One of these is protected by the first amendment.


I take it the written word doesn't count then either.

Maybe.
Think about it.

If you can blanket the world with your message, you Win.
He who has Money can buy the best and the most advertising.

Like Birds in the Open Jungle.
Like the LyreBird.

When is being beautiful cheating?
We are far from, "Read my words, Don't look at me."

Does it matter if the Author is an ugly old person or a Gentleman of the Quarterlies?
The written word is Mass Media. Who controls the written word?

The written word does not need controls.
No one reads, much. Do they?

We don't have time to listen to one another.
Those pretty people on the TV have something to say.

They are important, or they would not be on TV.
So, Listen Up. What are they saying, Today?

Are we like our cousins the Lyre Bird?
Do we use sounds we do not understand?

Do the sounds get us Laid?
As long as you are Happy;
Sing-Sing That Song.

Are the American People singing a Happy Song?
Life is, just, an exchange of electrons; It is up to us to give it meaning.

We are all in The Gutter.
Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
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Re: US Supreme Court - Brought to you by Koch Industries

Postby Brace » Thu Apr 03, 2014 6:20 pm UTC

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Re: US Supreme Court - Brought to you by Koch Industries

Postby KnightExemplar » Thu Apr 03, 2014 6:37 pm UTC

Brace wrote:Does speech need to constitute communication to be protected? Also, if something stops speech which was intended as communication from functioning as such, is that a first amendment violation? Communication has additional requirements that speech doesn't. Arguably, shouting over the top of people who are trying to communicate is depriving them of free speech, even if they're still technically able to talk.


Free (Libre) Speech does not mean free (gratis) speech. Never has, never will.

A Printing Press gave early Americans significant political power, more power than money does today. (everyone can easily make a tumblr account and have gratis-free printing presses of their own).
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Re: US Supreme Court - Brought to you by Koch Industries

Postby cphite » Thu Apr 03, 2014 7:15 pm UTC

LaserGuy wrote:
cphite wrote:Funny that people always zero on in the Koch brothers...

If you rank the biggest political donors over the past 25 years, Koch Industries is ranked 59th. And if you look at recent years, they fall even further down the list. Really, as far as political donors go, the Koch folks are small potatoes.

In fact, the largest single republican-leaning organization in terms of political donation - the United Parcel Service - is ranked 17th overall. The 16 above them are all either democrat-leaning, or relatively neutral.


Er, Koch are #12 overall in contributions for the 2014 cycle. [edit]That's a pretty significant sum for private individuals, I'd imagine.


Which still means that in 2014 there were 11 others who contributed more; and yet for some reason none of those 11 are worth mentioning?

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Re: US Supreme Court - Brought to you by Koch Industries

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Apr 03, 2014 7:23 pm UTC

cphite wrote:Which still means that in 2014 there were 11 others who contributed more; and yet for some reason none of those 11 are worth mentioning?


Certain people attract notoriety. Bloomberg is notable for the quantity he spends on gun control, for instance. Koch is notable for supporting conservative causes. Presumably, these people do not mind the attention, or actively seek it in pursuit of their causes, and are effective in gaining it.

I imagine a lot of people care less for the limelight, and thus, do not receive media coverage in proportion to their spending. If you have that kind of cash, media can be manipulated just like everything else.

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Re: US Supreme Court - Brought to you by Koch Industries

Postby Brace » Thu Apr 03, 2014 7:30 pm UTC

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Re: US Supreme Court - Brought to you by Koch Industries

Postby LaserGuy » Thu Apr 03, 2014 7:33 pm UTC

For the OP, couldn't this be worked around by limiting the amount that the candidate can spend, but not the amount that they can receive? Just make it that no individual candidate can spent more than 100k in an election cycle, and no party can spend more then 100m or something. If somebody wants to donate more than that, they can, but the candidate can't do shit with it until the next cycle.

cphite wrote:
Er, Koch are #12 overall in contributions for the 2014 cycle. [edit]That's a pretty significant sum for private individuals, I'd imagine.


Which still means that in 2014 there were 11 others who contributed more; and yet for some reason none of those 11 are worth mentioning?


I'd assume that none of the others are individual persons. The Koch brothers contribute as much as organizations that represent millions of people.

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Re: US Supreme Court - Brought to you by Koch Industries

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Thu Apr 03, 2014 7:38 pm UTC

LaserGuy wrote:For the OP, couldn't this be worked around by limiting the amount that the candidate can spend, but not the amount that they can receive?

That seems like an even more blatant imposition on speech. Further, I don't see how you square it with this ruling and with earlier ones; the mere fact that what you're proposing isn't exactly the same policy as the one that was struck down doesn't mean that the ruling doesn't create serious legal barriers to it.
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Re: US Supreme Court - Brought to you by Koch Industries

Postby Djehutynakht » Thu Apr 03, 2014 8:01 pm UTC

Spending can, I concede, possibly be interpreted as a form of speech. If your money is going to buying signs and producing TV ads, for instance, those are all instances of speaking to the voter.

And likewise by doing this for a candidate you get their ear a greater proportion.


But, if I may use a metaphor, equate money to voice volume.

Imagine we're all in a room, and we had different levels of voice volume depending on who spoke. Some spoke in small whispers. Some in normal tones. Some people shouted.

But then you have this particular, small group of individuals whose voices are so booming that they drown out everyone else around them, whenever they speak. If they speak, by god, you have no choice but to hear it.

Free speech is letting them speak.

But free speech is also occasionally telling them that they need to shut it so others can have their turn.
_______________________________

CorruptUser wrote:Campaign donations, not so much. The politicians receiving the donations would disagree.


You know, I was thinking about this earlier.

If I was a politician, I'd wholly be against unlimited campaign contributions.

Why?

Well, let's say that we're following the letter of the law, hypothetically, and contributions to my campaign can only be used to help me get elected, not for my personal gain.

Well, if there's unlimited contributions by rich donors, my opponent is going to get some of that. Meaning I have to get some of that to keep up with him.

Which means that I have to bend over backwards to beg for money from a bunch of rich individuals instead of old-fashioned money raising and otherwise getting to do whatever the hell I want.

Politicians like power. Concentrating the money aspect into the hands of a few rich seems like a good way to have it sapped away.

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Re: US Supreme Court - Brought to you by Koch Industries

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Thu Apr 03, 2014 8:14 pm UTC

Djehutynakht wrote:But, if I may use a metaphor, equate money to voice volume.

Why think this is a good metaphor, though? If everyone is crowded in a room trying to talk, then having some loud people means that it can be literally impossible to hear the quieter voices. Loud speakers are a problem for quiet speakers because there is some sort of fuzzy maximum to how much sound can convey information at a time.

It's not obvious, however, that the real world works that way. If Koch or MoveOn or whoever puts up a billboard, it doesn't get any harder for me to publish my own stuff online. (It might raise billboard prices somewhat, but then that's equally true if I buy a billboard.) Looking at it from the other direction (i.e., listener rather than speaker), I get most of my news from checking the front page of Google News and reading a few law blogs. People can buy a million ads on CNN, but they aren't going to "overpower" the voices I'm listening to because, unlike in the room metaphor, I can (and do) turn the TV off and go listen to the quieter voices on their own channels.

On a slightly different thread of discussion, I thought this law-and-economics analysis was interesting.
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Re: US Supreme Court - Brought to you by Koch Industries

Postby Heisenberg » Thu Apr 03, 2014 8:36 pm UTC

People tend to listen to me better when I threaten to release bees into the room. So really, limiting the amount of bees I can keep is the same as limiting my freedom of speech. Speech = Bees.

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Wnderer
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Re: US Supreme Court - Brought to you by Koch Industries

Postby Wnderer » Thu Apr 03, 2014 10:11 pm UTC

Charles Koch defends himself in the Wall Street Journal.

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB1 ... 21286.html

Spoiler:
Charles Koch: I'm Fighting to Restore a Free Society
Instead of welcoming free debate, collectivists engage in character assassination.
By
Charles G. Koch
Updated April 2, 2014 7:47 p.m. ET

I have devoted most of my life to understanding the principles that enable people to improve their lives. It is those principles—the principles of a free society—that have shaped my life, my family, our company and America itself.

Unfortunately, the fundamental concepts of dignity, respect, equality before the law and personal freedom are under attack by the nation's own government. That's why, if we want to restore a free society and create greater well-being and opportunity for all Americans, we have no choice but to fight for those principles. I have been doing so for more than 50 years, primarily through educational efforts. It was only in the past decade that I realized the need to also engage in the political process.
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A truly free society is based on a vision of respect for people and what they value. In a truly free society, any business that disrespects its customers will fail, and deserves to do so. The same should be true of any government that disrespects its citizens. The central belief and fatal conceit of the current administration is that you are incapable of running your own life, but those in power are capable of running it for you. This is the essence of big government and collectivism.

More than 200 years ago, Thomas Jefferson warned that this could happen. "The natural progress of things," Jefferson wrote, "is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground." He knew that no government could possibly run citizens' lives for the better. The more government tries to control, the greater the disaster, as shown by the current health-care debacle. Collectivists (those who stand for government control of the means of production and how people live their lives) promise heaven but deliver hell. For them, the promised end justifies the means.

Instead of encouraging free and open debate, collectivists strive to discredit and intimidate opponents. They engage in character assassination. (I should know, as the almost daily target of their attacks.) This is the approach that Arthur Schopenhauer described in the 19th century, that Saul Alinsky famously advocated in the 20th, and that so many despots have infamously practiced. Such tactics are the antithesis of what is required for a free society—and a telltale sign that the collectivists do not have good answers.

Rather than try to understand my vision for a free society or accurately report the facts about Koch Industries, our critics would have you believe we're "un-American" and trying to "rig the system," that we're against "environmental protection" or eager to "end workplace safety standards." These falsehoods remind me of the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan's observation, "Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts." Here are some facts about my philosophy and our company:

Koch companies employ 60,000 Americans, who make many thousands of products that Americans want and need. According to government figures, our employees and the 143,000 additional American jobs they support generate nearly $11.7 billion in compensation and benefits. About one-third of our U.S.-based employees are union members.

Koch employees have earned well over 700 awards for environmental, health and safety excellence since 2009, many of them from the Environmental Protection Agency and Occupational Safety and Health Administration. EPA officials have commended us for our "commitment to a cleaner environment" and called us "a model for other companies."

Our refineries have consistently ranked among the best in the nation for low per-barrel emissions. In 2012, our Total Case Incident Rate (an important safety measure) was 67% better than a Bureau of Labor Statistics average for peer industries. Even so, we have never rested on our laurels. We believe there is always room for innovation and improvement.

Far from trying to rig the system, I have spent decades opposing cronyism and all political favors, including mandates, subsidies and protective tariffs—even when we benefit from them. I believe that cronyism is nothing more than welfare for the rich and powerful, and should be abolished.

Koch Industries was the only major producer in the ethanol industry to argue for the demise of the ethanol tax credit in 2011. That government handout (which cost taxpayers billions) needlessly drove up food and fuel prices as well as other costs for consumers—many of whom were poor or otherwise disadvantaged. Now the mandate needs to go, so that consumers and the marketplace are the ones who decide the future of ethanol.

Instead of fostering a system that enables people to help themselves, America is now saddled with a system that destroys value, raises costs, hinders innovation and relegates millions of citizens to a life of poverty, dependency and hopelessness. This is what happens when elected officials believe that people's lives are better run by politicians and regulators than by the people themselves. Those in power fail to see that more government means less liberty, and liberty is the essence of what it means to be American. Love of liberty is the American ideal.

If more businesses (and elected officials) were to embrace a vision of creating real value for people in a principled way, our nation would be far better off—not just today, but for generations to come. I'm dedicated to fighting for that vision. I'm convinced most Americans believe it's worth fighting for, too.

Mr. Koch is chairman and CEO of Koch Industries.

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Re: US Supreme Court - Brought to you by Koch Industries

Postby Brace » Fri Apr 04, 2014 12:15 am UTC

This post had objectionable content.
Last edited by Brace on Mon Oct 06, 2014 1:06 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: US Supreme Court - Brought to you by Koch Industries

Postby leady » Fri Apr 04, 2014 9:41 am UTC

Djehutynakht wrote:But, if I may use a metaphor, equate money to voice volume.

Imagine we're all in a room, and we had different levels of voice volume depending on who spoke. Some spoke in small whispers. Some in normal tones. Some people shouted.

But then you have this particular, small group of individuals whose voices are so booming that they drown out everyone else around them, whenever they speak. If they speak, by god, you have no choice but to hear it.

Free speech is letting them speak.

But free speech is also occasionally telling them that they need to shut it so others can have their turn.


I understand the perspective, but you have to acknowledge that its impossible to reconcile that view with "cannot be abridged". Its also impossible to frame an objective definition around such a perspective that isn't purely a current political view point - which I suspect is why the US constitution is very absolute.

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Re: US Supreme Court - Brought to you by Koch Industries

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Apr 04, 2014 11:36 am UTC

Djehutynakht wrote:Free speech is letting them speak.

But free speech is also occasionally telling them that they need to shut it so others can have their turn.


This seems a poor analogy. The world is utterly filled with ad space, and while 'round election time, it does seem like a great deal of it is used for political things, it does not seem that crowding others out is a viable thing. The libertarian party, of which I am a member, is not crowded out of ads...they simply lack the money to buy them. I'm sure that if they had buckets more money, they would promptly be just as obnoxious as the primary parties, advertising wise.

So, the "have their turn" concept does not really apply. All parties involved can happily advertise simul.

Also, market effects are not a major concern because of price fixing. If memory serves, ad time must be sold at the lowest price to all political parties involved. It is possible that if this obviously self-serving law were not a thing, you would see less advertising in general around election time due to rising prices.

And yes, the first amendment is quite clear. "Congress shall make no law" cannot be reasonably interpreted around by saying "weeell, THIS law is a really good idea". A constitutional amendment would be required first.

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Re: US Supreme Court - Brought to you by Koch Industries

Postby Zamfir » Fri Apr 04, 2014 4:05 pm UTC


It's not obvious, however, that the real world works that way. If Koch or MoveOn or whoever puts up a billboard, it doesn't get any harder for me to publish my own stuff online.


That also works the other way round. If it doesn't take money to publish views, then how are spending limits also limits on speech or the press?


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