Free speech math

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Several conservative websites are abuzz over the charge that there were protesters at the Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court nomination hearings this week. Several individuals claim they saw individuals who had been arrested for speaking out inside the hearings being handed cash outside the hearing on the street.

One of the eyewitnesses claimed that he spoke to one of the protest organizers who confirmed giving money to those arrested to pay court fines. It could also have been to compensate the individuals for taking off work. Either way, the conclusion was that the Kavanaugh protests weren’t legitimate.

Opposition to Kavanaugh, of course, is quite legitimate by many people for any reasons. A recent ABC/Washington Post poll shows Kavanaugh having the third-lowest support of any nominee to the Supreme Court in the poll’s history.

There are also legitimate questions about how legitimately objective if confirmed Kavanaugh would be if Donald Trump is indicted on any number of possible charges under the Mueller investigation. Kavanaugh was, after all, Trump’s choice. Though not atop the list of candidates recommended by the Federalist Society, he just so happened to be the only candidate with a solid record of opposing Presidents being prosecuted while in office. Just a coincidence no doubt.

It’s not a stretch to conclude that those who support Kavanaugh are the most upset about the “paid protesters” at the hearings.

But there’s a huge double standard here.

Kavanaugh’s record is clear in questioning the constitutionality of political candidate contribution limits, limitations affirmed in the Buckley v Valeo 1976 Supreme Court decision. Kavanaugh also is a big fan of the 2010 Citizens United v FEC Supreme Court case. Both cases legitimize political campaign spending as being equivalent to political free speech (i.e. money equals speech).

Kavanaugh has also expressed openness to foreign “dark money” political spending. In a 2011 case, Blumen vs FEC, he wrote an opinion upholding a ban on foreign political spending to candidates and campaigns. His opinion, however, excludes foreign spending on “issue ads” (i.e. political ads designed to influence an election without explicitly supporting or opposing any candidate), which can originate from corporations, wealthy individuals and even foreign governments. The sanctioning of foreign-funding of such ads is extremely troubling at a time when U.S. intelligence agencies and others claim Russians were involved in influencing the 2016 elections.

What’s the point of all of this, especially as it relates to paid political protesters?

Simple. As in simple math. Call it “free speech math.”

If “money equals speech” (A = B), then “speech equals money” (B = A).

Translation: protesters who speak out should be paid.

If corporations and the super wealthy can bankroll political attack ads (many of which are done without knowing the sources of the funding, thus the moniker “dark money”), then why the heck can’t protesters be paid for, well, exercising their free speech? During the Kavanaugh hearing. During city council meetings. When protesting on the street. The list is endless. Makes just as much sense as money being defined not as property but as political free speech!

The same people who are outraged about paying people to protest at the Kavanaugh hearing (who all show their faces and will reveal their identities when paying fines) should be much more outraged about the flood of money in our political system which has has been constitutionally shielded by previous Supreme Courts as protected “free speech.” These huge amounts of political cash amount to legalized bribery and results in the drowning out of the voices of the vast majority of people who aren’t investing in political campaigns. The magnitude of the two different forms of “paid speech” isn’t remotely close.

Those who proclaim that paying protesters isn’t legitimately democratic should not only more loudly assert but take action against the ever-growing tsunami of political money from corporate entities and the super duper wealthy flooding our political system as a massive threat to whatever is left of our democratic republic.

Which it is.

Which is why the solution in the short run is to oppose Brett Kavanaugh.

Move to Amend (MTA) supports a constitutional amendment to end political money defined as free speech and corporations in all their forms being anointed with constitutional rights (what many call “corporate personhood.”)

MTA has sent an Open Letter to every member of the Senate stating its objections to his confirmation. MTA has also prepared a questionnaire for US Senators to ask focused on his beliefs about corporate constitutional rights. Forward it to your Senators and request they ask Kavanaugh for his responses.

Please do all you can to oppose the Brett Kavanaugh nomination…whether you’re paid to do it or not.

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Portman benefits political investors and himself

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Ohio’s own Rob Portman is among the bunch of GOP Senators who will personally benefit from the inclusion of this nifty provision that was not in either the original House or Senate version of the tax bill. And who was one of the Senators on the conference committee that reconciled both versions in a single one soon to be voted on by both the House and Senate? Why, Rob Portman!
Rob also received a cool $900,000 from real estate industry Political Action Committees (PACs) in the 2016 election cycle. So Rob both helped his political donors (more like investors) AND helped himself at the same time.
Republican Senators Will Save Millions With Special Real-Estate Tax Break

Beacon Journal editorial board: Tamela Lee, ECOT and the public trust

Excellent analysis and questions.

Both have surely violated the public trust. Why the difference in punishment? For one, cash. For another, the law.

I doubt Tamela Lee possessed the personal wealth to drag legal proceedings far enough along with the best lawyer(s) money can buy to negotiate a lesser verdict while William Lager lawyered up to use every legal maneuver possible to avoid responsibility. The law, too, is a factor. Lee’s crime was clear and blatant bribery. Lager has used legalized bribery (e.g. massive political campaign “contributions” over many years) to buy/rent/lease/retain public officials to change laws and regulations beneficial to his inept online charter school. The corporate form is also a helpful shield to insulate in many cases jail time. Laws and verdicts which often maximize fines to corporations (as well as the rich) to a percentage of whatever amount of money was unlawfully acquired invite unethical actions. Stealing $100 knowing that the maximum punishment/fine is $20 simply invites stealing.

The damage Lager has done to children through his phony school and to democracy through corrupting the political system are unconscionable. Fraud charges should be pursued. Significant prison time for Lager and revoking ECOT’s corporate charter can’t repair the damage already done, but they would provide at least some deterrent to prevent future irresponsibility and criminality.

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https://www.ohio.com/akron/editorial/editorials/beacon-journal-editorial-board-tamela-lee-ecot-and-the-public-trust

Frank Jackson Has Raised A Whole Lot More Money Than All Other Mayoral Challengers Combined

All the political cash is sickening. Am quoted in the article below, but a few points were left out: “The system of legalized bribery (e.g. campaign financing) is alive and well in Cleveland as demonstrated by Frank Jackson’s rapid rise of his campaign war chest…Legalized bribery will only end by legalizing democracy — via lower contribution limits and, ultimately, by amending the US Constitution to give voice to the needs of people and communities by abolishing the doctrines that money is constitutionally protected ‘free speech’ and corporations possess inalienable constitutional ‘personhood’ rights.”

Frank Jackson Has Raised A Whole Lot More Money Than All Other Mayoral Challengers Combined

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https://www.clevescene.com/scene-and-heard/archives/2017/08/02/frank-jackson-has-raised-a-whole-lot-more-money-than-all-other-mayoral-challengers-combined

US prosecutors told to push for more, harsher punishments

More, harsher punishments = more prisoners in federal prisons, many of which are corporate-run = more profits for corporations that run prisons = more cash available by agents of corporate-run prisons to lobby and contribute/invest in public officials to have more, harsher punishments.

Repeat.

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/us-prosecutors-told-to-push-for-more-harsher-punishments/ar-BBB2Pgg

 

 

Portman could pass on DeVos

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There is a major effort to pressure U.S. Senator Rob Portman from Ohio to vote against the confirmation of Betsy DeVos for Education Secretary. The reasons are many.

One includes DeVos having “contributed” (more like invested) in Portman’s political campaign. Supposedly the vote is 50-50.

Portman, however, doesn’t have to vote NO for DeVos for her to be forced to return to oversee her failing for-profit charter schools in Michigan. Portman could sit on his hands and not vote at all.

The result would be identical.

Here’s a chance for Rob to show he’s above even the appearance of a conflict of interest. It would be a sign of integrity to recuse himself for being anywhere near the Senate floor when the vote comes up. He wouldn’t have to officially side with the Democrats — just go his own independent way by taking a pass.

Tom Price is Costly to Democracy

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Tell Senators Rob Portman (202-224-3353) and Sherrod Brown (1-888-896-6446) to oppose the nomination of Tom Price as Health and Human Services Secretary.

Tom Price purchased stock last June at a special privileged discount from a biomedical corporation, Innate Immunotherapeutics, according to the Wall Street Journal. This was contrary to his testimony during his confirmation hearing. Price sits on the House Ways and Means Committee’s health subcommittee, which is responsible for passing laws and regulations related to the medical industry.

In a separate investment, Price bought between $1,001 and $15,000 in shares of Zimmer Biomet, a medical device maker. A week later, he introduced legislation financially benefiting the company. The bill, the 21st Century Cures Act, became law.

This is pay-to-play political corruption through and through — something candidate Trump said he opposed. Price’s actions are costly to not only health care but to what’s left of our democracy. Price is not right to oversee the federal agency concerning health care and the health care industry.

Yet another example among 1000s of the use of big money from wealthy individuals and/or corporations seeking to capture the political system for their own ends — and why we need the We the People Amendment to the Constitution.

#EndCorporateRule #CorporateRule #Democracy #WeThePeopleAmendment #MovetoAmend