Colbert likely running for Pres of the U.S of S Carolina

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Colbert likely running for Pres of the U.S of S Carolina

Postby Роберт » Fri Jan 13, 2012 3:37 pm UTC

http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-0 ... l-bid.html

Keep in mind it's an open primary. Even if you aren't Republican, you can vote for him.

EDIT: I felt this was separate from the general "Republican Primary" thread since it's more interesting to democrats etc, but if you feel it should be merged I won't argue.
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Re: Colbert likely running for Pres of the U.S of S Carolina

Postby Tirian » Sat Jan 14, 2012 6:53 am UTC

*sigh*

Colbert is a comedian who plays a fictional character who says blatantly stupid things for a living. He's not on the ballot, the deadline for getting on the ballot was two and a half months ago, the ballots have long since been printed, and there's no write-in line. Shame on Bloomberg and any other "legitimate" news source that passes along press releases with no due diligence.

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Re: Colbert likely running for Pres of the U.S of S Carolina

Postby Ceron » Sat Jan 14, 2012 6:41 pm UTC

Even though it's all for publicity, I still find it hilarious Colbert polled ahead of an actual candidate. Would certainly make for an interesting four years if Colbert somehow won.

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Re: Colbert likely running for Pres of the U.S of S Carolina

Postby Prefanity » Sat Jan 14, 2012 7:45 pm UTC

Ceron wrote:Even though it's all for publicity, I still find it hilarious Colbert polled ahead of an actual candidate. Would certainly make for an interesting four years if Colbert somehow won.


But winning isn't a part of Colbert's game. Transferring control of his Super PAC to Jon Stewart in order to run for president was all done to illustrate how bonkers the Citizens United ruling is.

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Re: Colbert likely running for Pres of the U.S of S Carolina

Postby Whammy » Sat Jan 14, 2012 8:55 pm UTC

Prefanity wrote:
Ceron wrote:Even though it's all for publicity, I still find it hilarious Colbert polled ahead of an actual candidate. Would certainly make for an interesting four years if Colbert somehow won.


But winning isn't a part of Colbert's game. Transferring control of his Super PAC to Jon Stewart in order to run for president was all done to illustrate how bonkers the Citizens United ruling is.


Well, I wouldn't say it illustrates how bonkers Citizens United was (am I really the only person in the world who doesn't think it was inherently bad?), but just how bonkers the entirety of the whole PAC system is, mostly in how things that are blatantly outsourcing of support to get around laws are technically legal as long as there is no "coordination" between the groups (which is such a vague and hard thing to prove to be practically worthless really).

Unfortunately though, I can't think of any way to solve the issue that wouldn't be a violation of freedom of speech. I mean, what are you going to do, state "No one who is related to you or works with you or is acquainted with you in any way whatsoever can ever be in charge of an organization that may or may not be involved with activities that may or may not influence people who may or may not vote for you?". But this is probably an issue for another thread....


Anywho, as for Colbert running, I didn't know that technically he can't by this point due to primaries and all that. Guess I should have known that though since it is in 10 days, and if Gingrich and them couldn't get on Virginia and some other states ballots, Colbert shouldn't have been in SC. Though I didn't know there was no write-ins...maybe he can just run in the general election? XD. But he wouldn't be able to do that cause that means giving up his show and what not.


Unless he let's Stewart run the Colbert Report too and we end up with an hour long, uhm...The Daily Report with Colbert Stewart?

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Re: Colbert likely running for Pres of the U.S of S Carolina

Postby Ghostbear » Sat Jan 14, 2012 9:25 pm UTC

Whammy wrote:(am I really the only person in the world who doesn't think it was inherently bad?)

I wish you were...

Whammy wrote:but just how bonkers the entirety of the whole PAC system is, mostly in how things that are blatantly outsourcing of support to get around laws are technically legal as long as there is no "coordination" between the groups (which is such a vague and hard thing to prove to be practically worthless really).

Unfortunately though, I can't think of any way to solve the issue that wouldn't be a violation of freedom of speech. I mean, what are you going to do, state "No one who is related to you or works with you or is acquainted with you in any way whatsoever can ever be in charge of an organization that may or may not be involved with activities that may or may not influence people who may or may not vote for you?". But this is probably an issue for another thread....

I think the issue here is that campaign integrity should be more important than some level of free speech- just as how slander is illegal, so too should unlimited political funding.

Whammy wrote:Guess I should have known that though since it is in 10 days, and if Gingrich and them couldn't get on Virginia and some other states ballots, Colbert shouldn't have been in SC.

The rules vary from state to state- NH has one of the least restrictive ballot entry rules, to my knowledge. No reason that some being excluded from Virginia should force other people to be excluded from other states.

Whammy wrote:Though I didn't know there was no write-ins...maybe he can just run in the general election? XD. But he wouldn't be able to do that cause that means giving up his show and what not.

He'll do whatever makes the point he wants to make I believe- he could do a half assed general election campaign and still do his show, easily.

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Re: Colbert likely running for Pres of the U.S of S Carolina

Postby Derek » Sat Jan 14, 2012 10:24 pm UTC

Whammy wrote:Well, I wouldn't say it illustrates how bonkers Citizens United was (am I really the only person in the world who doesn't think it was inherently bad?), but just how bonkers the entirety of the whole PAC system is, mostly in how things that are blatantly outsourcing of support to get around laws are technically legal as long as there is no "coordination" between the groups (which is such a vague and hard thing to prove to be practically worthless really).

Unfortunately though, I can't think of any way to solve the issue that wouldn't be a violation of freedom of speech. I mean, what are you going to do, state "No one who is related to you or works with you or is acquainted with you in any way whatsoever can ever be in charge of an organization that may or may not be involved with activities that may or may not influence people who may or may not vote for you?". But this is probably an issue for another thread....

You're not alone, I completely agree with you here. I don't like the idea of SuperPACs and even more expensive campaigns, but freedom of speech gets first priority.

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Re: Colbert likely running for Pres of the U.S of S Carolina

Postby IcedT » Sat Jan 14, 2012 10:29 pm UTC

Limiting the influence of money on politics is like making laws against monopolistic business practices- it's very clearly a limitation of rights, but a small de jure infringement on those rights now can prevent huge de facto abuses down the line. I think it's pretty clear why it's insane that millions in laundered money from international business conglomerates are equivalent to actual, individual human beings expressing their political opinions. Of course, I think the individuals working within the corporation are free to contribute however they like to politics, but corporate personhood is one of those things that's consistent with the letter of the law but completely against the spirit of it. Corporations aren't born, they don't die, they're tremendously wealthy and when left alone they mostly exhibit something close to sociopathy. Add to that the fact that an invented person can't even HAVE their own opinions to voice, it's the aggregated opinions of the corporation's officers leveraged with the stockholder's money. And I could play the xenophobe/nativist card and say that, by giving personhood to corporations that employ, and are invested in by, many non-citizens and foreigners, we're opening our domestic politics to unprecedented levels of outside influence.

In any case, I don't see how extending personhood to corporations makes our society freer or fairer in any way. At best, it undermines our process, only benefits moneyed interests, and weakens the influence of the average citizen.

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Re: Colbert likely running for Pres of the U.S of S Carolina

Postby Whammy » Sun Jan 15, 2012 12:57 am UTC

Ghostbear wrote:The rules vary from state to state- NH has one of the least restrictive ballot entry rules, to my knowledge. No reason that some being excluded from Virginia should force other people to be excluded from other states.

The least restrictive I know of is I believe Illinois, which you just have to fill out a two page form or something. Sadly in a humorous way, Jon Huntsman messed that up (apparently signature was photocopied and not notarized so it didn't count)...I feel sorry for Jon Huntsman XD.


Ghostbear wrote:He'll do whatever makes the point he wants to make I believe- he could do a half assed general election campaign and still do his show, easily.


Well, I know in 2008 he couldn't do it due to rules regarding television screentime (basically candidates had to have equal screen time I believe, and having your own show would give you a lot of screentime), but maybe Citizens' United would invalidate that rule. Not sure...we'll have to see what that lawyer guy he brings on for these things says XD. I think it may still be in place though cause, if I remember correctly, if Sarah Palin or Mike Huckabee had tried to run, they would have had to cancel their Fox News contracts/Fox News shows in order to do so.

There's also probably a rule about "you have to be seriously campaigning in order to get on the ballot" somewhere XD.

Derek wrote:You're not alone, I completely agree with you here. I don't like the idea of SuperPACs and even more expensive campaigns, but freedom of speech gets first priority.


Here's the thing that tends to bother me when it comes to the Citizen's United decision that people don't seem to realize:

1) It didn't make Money=Speech. That's been around since 1976 in Buckley v. Valeo, and for what I think is a very legitimate reason: in order to produce speech (TV ads, radio ads, leaflets, speeches, etc etc.) you have to spend money (unless you all are going to suggest candidates shouldn't have to pay to perform speech). Sure, it upheld campaign donation limitations (the act of giving the money is speech, not the amount itself), but allows candidates to spend as much as they want. I think that's reasonably fair: I as a normal citizen could spend as much as I want to push any cause I want, what makes a politician any less different?

2) Corporate personhood really wasn't NEEDED to get the opinion made; it was really only mentioned by the dissenting opinions. The majority opinion pretty much worked on this basis: people do not loose their individual rights just because they are acting as a group. Since we as individuals have the right to free speech, then any group (keyword is ANY) also has the right to free speech. Since the Citizens United case directly dealt with parts of campaign law that dealt with limitations on electronic speech (basically, Citizens United wanted to release a documentary about Hillary Clinton right before the election, but the law said they couldn't 30 days before), and again, we as individuals could do whatever we want in regards to that, then there is no constitutional reason why Citizens United shouldn't be allowed to either just because they are a group with more resources than an individual.

3)ANY law that restricts a corporation's ability to engage in free speech would also effect ALL NON-PROFIT GROUPS (think NAACP, ACLU, etc etc. which also work under corporate charters) and unions. Why? Because the same reasoning behind restricting a corporation would also apply to all of those groups (that's why I was seriously pissed off at my econ teacher for questioning union rights to support candidates and what not). And just trying to close off one group just leads to backdoor ways to getting speech (a business can't do politics, but it can form PACs that hire lobbyist to do it after all).

Look, I'm not a big fan of corporate influence in elections and what not either. But the way to address it is not by restricting speech in such a way that would ALSO restrict our own speech. You can't tell a group of people they don't have a right to speech simply because they have more resources than you do. Yes, some limitations are fine, but in all honesty this idea that we need to "FIGHT THE EVIL CORPORATIONS CAUSE THEY DROWN OUT THE AVERAGE CITIZEN" is, and I'm going to be blunt here, stupid. Cause guess what, as much as the "get out the vote" stuff might tell you, you're individual opinion and views mean nothing. Absolutely nothing. You could get rid of every single last corporation in existence, and your single voice would still mean nothing. Why? Cause your voice is just 1 in 312 million people (current US population).

You want a voice in politics? Then organize, get others to join your cause, pool your resources together. You have a right to association; use it. Sure, corporations might have richer backers than you do, but not all of them are "evil" (again, I remind you all non-profit groups are also corporations), but that doesn't necessarily give you the right to restrict their ability to speak. Now granted some reforms probably need to be made, but restricting speech or expenditures isn't the way to do it. Does it make it harder for groups without money to be active? Yeah, probably, but that's a price to pay for freedom of association and speech. But as movements throughout US history showed (ex; Civil Rights movements), it can be done.

And of course there's that all-mighty vote, probably the most underused and ignored political tool (seriously, don't get me started on people who want "term limits").

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Re: Colbert likely running for Pres of the U.S of S Carolina

Postby folkhero » Sun Jan 15, 2012 1:01 am UTC

Whammy wrote:Well, I wouldn't say it illustrates how bonkers Citizens United was (am I really the only person in the world who doesn't think it was inherently bad?), but just how bonkers the entirety of the whole PAC system is, mostly in how things that are blatantly outsourcing of support to get around laws are technically legal as long as there is no "coordination" between the groups (which is such a vague and hard thing to prove to be practically worthless really).
I don't think Citizen's United was bad, but everyone stopped talking to with me about it on the official thread about it. I mean, why does the New York Times, or GE (via NBC, MSNBC etc.) get to spend huge amounts of money making political speech and other corporations don't? This might be an issue for another thread, but it's reasonably on topic since Colbert's Pac and running for president are mostly to protest Citizen's United.
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Re: Colbert likely running for Pres of the U.S of S Carolina

Postby Ghostbear » Sun Jan 15, 2012 1:50 am UTC

Whammy wrote:
Ghostbear wrote:The rules vary from state to state- NH has one of the least restrictive ballot entry rules, to my knowledge. No reason that some being excluded from Virginia should force other people to be excluded from other states.

The least restrictive I know of is I believe Illinois, which you just have to fill out a two page form or something. Sadly in a humorous way, Jon Huntsman messed that up (apparently signature was photocopied and not notarized so it didn't count)...I feel sorry for Jon Huntsman XD.

I don't know about Illinois, but in NH I read it as only needing to pay a $1,000 fee to the state's treasury, and you're done.

Whammy wrote:
Ghostbear wrote:He'll do whatever makes the point he wants to make I believe- he could do a half assed general election campaign and still do his show, easily.


Well, I know in 2008 he couldn't do it due to rules regarding television screentime (basically candidates had to have equal screen time I believe, and having your own show would give you a lot of screentime), but maybe Citizens' United would invalidate that rule. Not sure...we'll have to see what that lawyer guy he brings on for these things says XD. I think it may still be in place though cause, if I remember correctly, if Sarah Palin or Mike Huckabee had tried to run, they would have had to cancel their Fox News contracts/Fox News shows in order to do so.

There's also probably a rule about "you have to be seriously campaigning in order to get on the ballot" somewhere XD.

I can't speak for the television runtime rules, but there definitely isn't anything about "seriously" campaigning. How would you measure that anyway? Just like the primaries, every state has it's own laws regarding getting on the ballot.

Whammy wrote:1) It didn't make Money=Speech. That's been around since 1976 in Buckley v. Valeo, and for what I think is a very legitimate reason: in order to produce speech (TV ads, radio ads, leaflets, speeches, etc etc.) you have to spend money (unless you all are going to suggest candidates shouldn't have to pay to perform speech). Sure, it upheld campaign donation limitations (the act of giving the money is speech, not the amount itself), but allows candidates to spend as much as they want. I think that's reasonably fair: I as a normal citizen could spend as much as I want to push any cause I want, what makes a politician any less different?

That's not a good reason- I can produce speech for free, constantly. That's just reproducing the speech and making it more accessible. Money is not a necessary process to creating speech. It can be, but it is not always.

Politicians are different because they are public servants, elected to serve the greater good. They are given many perks- money, health care, power, more vacations than they know what to do with- to compensate them for having some limitations placed upon them.

Whammy wrote:3)ANY law that restricts a corporation's ability to engage in free speech would also effect ALL NON-PROFIT GROUPS (think NAACP, ACLU, etc etc. which also work under corporate charters) and unions. Why? Because the same reasoning behind restricting a corporation would also apply to all of those groups (that's why I was seriously pissed off at my econ teacher for questioning union rights to support candidates and what not). And just trying to close off one group just leads to backdoor ways to getting speech (a business can't do politics, but it can form PACs that hire lobbyist to do it after all).

I have no opposition to also limiting the campaign spending of those other groups. Go ahead, limit all of them- unions, corporations, lobbyists. Do it. I'll be happy!

Whammy wrote:Look, I'm not a big fan of corporate influence in elections and what not either. But the way to address it is not by restricting speech in such a way that would ALSO restrict our own speech. You can't tell a group of people they don't have a right to speech simply because they have more resources than you do. Yes, some limitations are fine, but in all honesty this idea that we need to "FIGHT THE EVIL CORPORATIONS CAUSE THEY DROWN OUT THE AVERAGE CITIZEN" is, and I'm going to be blunt here, stupid. Cause guess what, as much as the "get out the vote" stuff might tell you, you're individual opinion and views mean nothing. Absolutely nothing. You could get rid of every single last corporation in existence, and your single voice would still mean nothing. Why? Cause your voice is just 1 in 312 million people (current US population).

Flawed reasoning- your vote DOES mean something, otherwise no one would be competing for it. Just now you will have a significantly larger amount of money being invested to sway you to vote for the candidate that will increase GenericCorporateBehemoth's profit margins a little bit more. And human beings (including both you and I) are very susceptible to advertising. Their "free speech" is harming your capacity to make an informed and intelligent vote.

You're also off by quite a bit with that number- the US population does not make up the total of the number of potential voters. In 2008, there were about 130 million votes cast, at about a 63% turnout- the total number of eligible voters would be about 200-210 million, give or take. The chance of a voter to change the election's outcome is about 1 in 10 million in a swing state- very impressive odds, realistically.

Whammy wrote:You want a voice in politics? Then organize, get others to join your cause, pool your resources together. You have a right to association; use it. Sure, corporations might have richer backers than you do, but not all of them are "evil" (again, I remind you all non-profit groups are also corporations), but that doesn't necessarily give you the right to restrict their ability to speak. Now granted some reforms probably need to be made, but restricting speech or expenditures isn't the way to do it. Does it make it harder for groups without money to be active? Yeah, probably, but that's a price to pay for freedom of association and speech. But as movements throughout US history showed (ex; Civil Rights movements), it can be done.

And of course there's that all-mighty vote, probably the most underused and ignored political tool (seriously, don't get me started on people who want "term limits").

So "wanting a voice in politics" amounts to "hope that your views align with non evil corporations"? You keep assuming that people here are ascribing "evilness" to corporations, which can't be further from the truth: corporations are selfish, and care only for their own benefit. That is why we oppose their influence in politics. When I vote, I have a concern for abortion rights- I am a male, and will only be influenced by them indirectly- gay rights- I am straight, and am directly unaffected by gay rights- helping the poor -I am not poor- ending the war on drugs- I have never used any drugs- and many other things. I consider all of those- and much more- when I vote, even though they serve little practical benefit to me, as a person. A corporation would never concern itself with those factors because of the way it is structured. All a corporation will care about is increasing its profits, and in the manner of influencing politics, that is done most easily by actions that disadvantage the average citizen. Lower corporate tax rates, looser worker protection laws, weakened regulations, government subsidies- all of these are things that can be done to help citizens somewhat (if corporate tax rates were 95%, lowering them would be helpful, if regulations were needlessly onerous, lowering them would be good, if worker protection laws made it impossible to hire anyone, that would need fixing, government subsides can boost some industries that will later boom and hire many people) but the corporations will have zero concern for whether the outcome helps citizens- only if it helps its shareholders.

My only way to fight back against that is to vote, I will never have the resources to be able to compete against it, neither will everyone I ever meet that cares about it. The only way to compete with it is to play the game on the same rules as them, but at that point you have become what you are fighting against, and will slowly succumb to being part of the problem you are fighting.

I leave you (and anyone else defending Citizens United) a simple question: Politics is already dangerously prone to corruption, at all levels, with potentially significant negative results from such; why should we open it up to make that corruption that much easier?

EDIT: Additionally, campaign funding and messaging aren't a closed system. With finance limitations, my donation of $5 to a candidate is much more significant than it is in a campaign where super PACs are expected to spend several hundred million dollars. If a campaign is running advertisements in a state, they are less potent if someone else is spending to drown them out in attack ads. By increasing the "free speech" of corporations, you directly weaken that same free speech for citizens. Citizen rights should always* trump the rights of entities that exist only as a legal construct with the sole purpose of making money.

* Cue a nitpicking where someone tries to find an example where they shouldn't.

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Re: Colbert likely running for Pres of the U.S of S Carolina

Postby Whammy » Sun Jan 15, 2012 2:46 am UTC

I won't respond to your post just yet; since obviously at this point we've gone beyond the topic of Colbert, is there a way we can separate these last few posts into a new thread about Citizens United or maybe just the roles of corporations and groups in politics in general? Or should I just start a new thread myself? XD

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Re: Colbert likely running for Pres of the U.S of S Carolina

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Sun Jan 15, 2012 2:54 am UTC

Bumping is allowed/encouraged (versus derailing) here. You can probably just jump to the existing thread.
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Re: Colbert likely running for Pres of the U.S of S Carolina

Postby Ghostbear » Sun Jan 15, 2012 3:03 am UTC

Well, necros are a bit discouraged as well- that thread is over 2 years old now.

My experience here has been that it's OK for a topic to stray to something related but not necessarily on topic, so long as that's the general trend of the topic. The Republican Primary thread has had discussions on tax progressivity, the war on drugs and filibusters quite fluidly, for example. I can't speak for the mods (since I clearly am not one), but my gut says the best course is to keep it here, and if it's a problem they'll tell us to move somewhere else.
Last edited by Ghostbear on Sun Jan 15, 2012 3:10 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Colbert likely running for Pres of the U.S of S Carolina

Postby Xeio » Sun Jan 15, 2012 3:09 am UTC

Necros aren't discouraged if you have something to contribute to the topic...

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Re: Colbert likely running for Pres of the U.S of S Carolina

Postby Whammy » Sun Jan 15, 2012 3:53 am UTC

Okay, I'll go with the "Keep going till a mod says otherwise" route for now I guess..

Ghostbear wrote:That's not a good reason- I can produce speech for free, constantly. That's just reproducing the speech and making it more accessible. Money is not a necessary process to creating speech. It can be, but it is not always.

Politicians are different because they are public servants, elected to serve the greater good. They are given many perks- money, health care, power, more vacations than they know what to do with- to compensate them for having some limitations placed upon them.


Making speech more accessible is sort of part of speech...unless you're fine just standing on a street corner yelling at people. Anything else, someone is being payed somewhere to do (and heck, you might need a permit for that street corner yelling). I'll just let you read the courts opinion yourself on it:

http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/h ... 01_ZO.html

But this paragraph sums it up rather well:

A restriction on the amount of money a person or group can spend on political communication during a campaign necessarily reduces the quantity of expression by restricting the number of issues discussed, the depth of their exploration, and the size of the audience reached. [n18] This is because virtually every means of communicating ideas in today's mass society requires the expenditure of money. The distribution of the humblest handbill or leaflet entails printing, paper, and circulation costs. Speeches and rallies generally necessitate hiring a hall and publicizing the event. The electorate's increasing dependence on television, radio, and other mass media for news and information has made these expensive modes of communication indispensable instruments of effective political speech


And while politicians have some limitations on their rights, speech is not one of them. Heck, technically speaking, your statement would only apply to incumbents; someone who is running but not elected doesn't have those benefits. And let's not forget all the politically active groups that participate in speech too (NAACP, ACLU, Chamber of Commerce, etc etc.).

Ghostbear wrote:I have no opposition to also limiting the campaign spending of those other groups. Go ahead, limit all of them- unions, corporations, lobbyists. Do it. I'll be happy!


...okay you realize you just limited the ability of pretty much ANY ORGANIZATION IN THE ENTIRE US. Do you understand why I might be a little concerned about that?

Ghostbear wrote:Flawed reasoning- your vote DOES mean something, otherwise no one would be competing for it. Just now you will have a significantly larger amount of money being invested to sway you to vote for the candidate that will increase GenericCorporateBehemoth's profit margins a little bit more. And human beings (including both you and I) are very susceptible to advertising. Their "free speech" is harming your capacity to make an informed and intelligent vote.

You're also off by quite a bit with that number- the US population does not make up the total of the number of potential voters. In 2008, there were about 130 million votes cast, at about a 63% turnout- the total number of eligible voters would be about 200-210 million, give or take. The chance of a voter to change the election's outcome is about 1 in 10 million in a swing state- very impressive odds, realistically.


I'll grant you the population thing; I was just being lazy to not look up eligible voter population thing XD. Also I wouldn't call my reasoning "flawed." That paper you stated, first off, does sort of make my point actually; you're chance of actually effecting anything is 1 in 10 million in a swing state, 1 in 60 million in the nation in general. Those...aren't really good odds. If you want to look into more, I'd suggest you look into the idea of the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paradox_of_voting . I do thank you for that paper though; I haven't yet gotten a paper that puts an actual odd to it.

Also, politicians don't compete for YOUR vote; they compete for the votes of as many people as possible. They work on blocks of people; is their action going to help them gain the "labor" vote, hurt the "evangelical" vote, bring "women voters" into the fold, put off the "Catholic" vote? The chance of an individual affecting an election is so small to be pretty much 0, and the margins of elections wide enough that an individual voice rarely means anything. That's why we, you know, organize into groups in order to get things done (what do you think is more effective, you writing to a politician everyday to get something done, or getting a writing campaign done all around town to get something done?)

Second, what's the problem with GenericCorporation trying to influence the election. That's sort of the point of democracy and campaigning and free speech and freedom of association. People get into groups to organize resources in order to gain influence in order to put forward agendas that serve their own ideals and interest. And guess what, there is more than one group out there! And even more, you have a brain and the ability to think! We're not exactly "slaves" to advertising; we can be influenced, but complaining about being influenced by advertising is like complaining about being influenced by a book or a pamphlet or a blog or whatever we get in contact with. Their "free speech" isn't harming your ability to make an intelligent decision at all. It's just one of many forces acting on your decision making processes.

Ghostbear wrote:So "wanting a voice in politics" amounts to "hope that your views align with non evil corporations"? You keep assuming that people here are ascribing "evilness" to corporations, which can't be further from the truth: corporations are selfish, and care only for their own benefit. That is why we oppose their influence in politics.


Soooooo...you oppose people forming organizations in order to pool resources together in order to further their own self-interest? Cause that's what I mean by "wanting a voice of politics": get more people that have similar interest or agendas as you in order to get a larger influence in politics.

Ghostbear wrote:When I vote, I have a concern for abortion rights- I am a male, and will only be influenced by them indirectly- gay rights- I am straight, and am directly unaffected by gay rights- helping the poor -I am not poor- ending the war on drugs- I have never used any drugs- and many other things. I consider all of those- and much more- when I vote, even though they serve little practical benefit to me, as a person.


Good for you!

Ghostbear wrote:A corporation would never concern itself with those factors because of the way it is structured. All a corporation will care about is increasing its profits, and in the manner of influencing politics, that is done most easily by actions that disadvantage the average citizen. Lower corporate tax rates, looser worker protection laws, weakened regulations, government subsidies- all of these are things that can be done to help citizens somewhat (if corporate tax rates were 95%, lowering them would be helpful, if regulations were needlessly onerous, lowering them would be good, if worker protection laws made it impossible to hire anyone, that would need fixing, government subsides can boost some industries that will later boom and hire many people) but the corporations will have zero concern for whether the outcome helps citizens- only if it helps its shareholders.


Okay, first off, corporations=/=business. Yes, corporate charters are used mostly for businesses, but it's also used for non-profit groups. Last time I checked, the ACLU wasn't out their working for lower corporate tax rates, or the NAACP wanting to weaken the welfare system, or the Sierra Club working to get rid of environmental regulations...

Second, plenty of ideological stances believe that things that benefit corporations benefit society. I personally disagree with them, but they are out there. And third, so what if corporations are out there trying to help their shareholders? That's...sort of the point of a business corporation. Just because you disagree with their goals doesn't necessarily mean they are less deserving of rights.

My only way to fight back against that is to vote, I will never have the resources to be able to compete against it, neither will everyone I ever meet that cares about it. The only way to compete with it is to play the game on the same rules as them, but at that point you have become what you are fighting against, and will slowly succumb to being part of the problem you are fighting.


Yes, you as an individual will never have the resources. You are allowed the freedom to form associations or to join groups that may have similar goals and ideals as you in order to more effectively use resources, or the court system. And of course you'd compete with the same rules; it's called democracy, and you're just one more group in a giant battle between competing groups. Also, voting is sort of a big deal, but again, isn't useful if you can't get a group of people. Seriously, democracy is a group activity; people really need to remember that.

Ghostbear wrote:I leave you (and anyone else defending Citizens United) a simple question: Politics is already dangerously prone to corruption, at all levels, with potentially significant negative results from such; why should we open it up to make that corruption that much easier?


..that Citizen's United didn't do anything like that? All it did is say "Corporations and other groups have the right to use electioneering communications without limitations". Direct contributions are still banned, they are still required to disclose and put disclaimers, limits on contributions are still allowed. Unless you're saying a TV commercial is corruption, I see no reason it would be a corrupting influence as long as citizens are vigilant and willing to be participatory in politics.

Ghostbear wrote:EDIT: Additionally, campaign funding and messaging aren't a closed system. With finance limitations, my donation of $5 to a candidate is much more significant than it is in a campaign where super PACs are expected to spend several hundred million dollars. If a campaign is running advertisements in a state, they are less potent if someone else is spending to drown them out in attack ads. By increasing the "free speech" of corporations, you directly weaken that same free speech for citizens. Citizen rights should always* trump the rights of entities that exist only as a legal construct with the sole purpose of making money.

* Cue a nitpicking where someone tries to find an example where they shouldn't.


Again though, the right of citizen's is the basis of Citizen's United; your right as a citizen is not lost just because you are in a group. From Buckley vs. Valeo

The First Amendment protects political association as well as political expression. The constitutional right of association explicated in NAACP v. Alabama, 357 U.S. 449, 460 (1958), stemmed from the Court's recognition that

[e]ffective advocacy of both public and private points of view, particularly controversial ones, is undeniably enhanced by group association.

Subsequent decisions have made clear that the First and Fourteenth Amendments guarantee "‘freedom to associate with others for the common advancement of political beliefs and ideas,'" a freedom that encompasses "‘[t]he right to associate with the political party of one's choice.'" Kusper v. Pontikes, 414 U.S. 51, 56, 57 (1973), quoted in Cousins v. Wigoda, 419 U.S. 477, 487 (1975).


And Citizen's United itself:

http://supreme.justia.com/us/558/08-205/opinion.html

This protection has been extended by explicit holdings to the context of political speech. See, e.g., Button, 371 U. S., at 428–429; Grosjean v. American Press Co., 297 U. S. 233, 244 (1936). Under the rationale of these precedents, political speech does not lose First Amendment protection “simply because its source is a corporation.” Bellotti, supra, at 784; see Pacific Gas & Elec. Co. v. Public Util. Comm’n of Cal., 475 U. S. 1, 8 (1986) (plurality opinion) (“The identity of the speaker is not decisive in determining whether speech is protected. Corporations and other associations, like individuals, contribute to the ‘discussion, debate, and the dissemination of information and ideas’ that the First Amendment seeks to foster” (quoting Bellotti, 435 U. S., at 783)). The Court has thus rejected the argument that political speech of corporations or other associations should be treated differently under the First Amendment simply because such associations are not “natural persons.” Id., at 776; see id., at 780, n. 16. Cf. id., at 828 (Rehnquist, J., dissenting).


By the way, the right of corporations to speech is a lot deeper than Citizens United (this was right before the part I just quoted):

The Court has recognized that First Amendment protection extends to corporations. Bellotti, supra, at 778, n. 14 (citing Linmark Associates, Inc. v. Willingboro, 431 U. S. 85 (1977); Time, Inc. v. Firestone, 424 U. S. 448 (1976); Doran v. Salem Inn, Inc., 422 U. S. 922 (1975); Southeastern Promotions, Ltd. v. Conrad, 420 U. S. 546 (1975); Cox Broadcasting Corp. v. Cohn, 420 U. S. 469 (1975); Miami Herald Publishing Co. v. Tornillo, 418 U. S. 241 (1974); New York Times Co. v. United States, 403 U. S. 713 (1971) (per curiam); Time, Inc. v. Hill, 385 U. S. 374 (1967); New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, 376 U. S. 254; Kingsley Int’l Pictures Corp. v. Regents of Univ. of N. Y., 360 U. S. 684 (1959); Joseph Burstyn, Inc. v. Wilson, 343 U. S. 495 (1952)); see, e.g., Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. v. FCC, 520 U. S. 180 (1997); Denver Area Ed. Telecommunications Consortium, Inc. v. FCC, 518 U. S. 727 (1996); Turner, 512 U. S. 622; Simon & Schuster, 502 U. S. 105; Sable Communications of Cal., Inc. v. FCC, 492 U. S. 115 (1989); Florida Star v. B. J. F., 491 U. S. 524 (1989); Philadelphia Newspapers, Inc. v. Hepps, 475 U. S. 767 (1986); Landmark Communications, Inc. v. Virginia, 435 U. S. 829 (1978); Young v. American Mini Theatres, Inc., 427 U. S. 50 (1976); Gertz v. Robert Welch, Inc., 418 U. S. 323 (1974); Greenbelt Cooperative Publishing Assn., Inc. v. Bresler, 398 U. S. 6 (1970).

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Re: Colbert likely running for Pres of the U.S of S Carolina

Postby Ghostbear » Sun Jan 15, 2012 6:58 am UTC

Whammy wrote:And while politicians have some limitations on their rights, speech is not one of them. Heck, technically speaking, your statement would only apply to incumbents; someone who is running but not elected doesn't have those benefits. And let's not forget all the politically active groups that participate in speech too (NAACP, ACLU, Chamber of Commerce, etc etc.).

Sure they do- politicians can not speak of top secret facts that they need to know for their job, speaking directly to Citizens United- they can't collaborate with PACS. Collaboration would tend to be accomplished through some form of communication- not being able to do so is a pretty direct limit on their speech.

Whammy wrote:
Ghostbear wrote:I have no opposition to also limiting the campaign spending of those other groups. Go ahead, limit all of them- unions, corporations, lobbyists. Do it. I'll be happy!

...okay you realize you just limited the ability of pretty much ANY ORGANIZATION IN THE ENTIRE US.

Yeah, wonderful isn't it? Let them focus on their actual purposes, instead of winning elections.

Whammy wrote:Do you understand why I might be a little concerned about that?

Oh, I guess you disagree then. No, I don't see why. Is it because groups like the ACLU can't also toss a bajillion dollars at campaigns? If so, they were never making their major efforts through campaign contributions: they only donated ~$60,000 in 2004, out of around $50,000,000 to work with.

Whammy wrote:I'll grant you the population thing; I was just being lazy to not look up eligible voter population thing XD. Also I wouldn't call my reasoning "flawed." That paper you stated, first off, does sort of make my point actually; you're chance of actually effecting anything is 1 in 10 million in a swing state, 1 in 60 million in the nation in general. Those...aren't really good odds. If you want to look into more, I'd suggest you look into the idea of the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paradox_of_voting . I do thank you for that paper though; I haven't yet gotten a paper that puts an actual odd to it.

Considering that you're dealing with the most powerful elected position in the US, a 1 in 60 million chance to change the outcome is rather significant in my book.

Whammy wrote:Also, politicians don't compete for YOUR vote; they compete for the votes of as many people as possible. They work on blocks of people; is their action going to help them gain the "labor" vote, hurt the "evangelical" vote, bring "women voters" into the fold, put off the "Catholic" vote? The chance of an individual affecting an election is so small to be pretty much 0, and the margins of elections wide enough that an individual voice rarely means anything. That's why we, you know, organize into groups in order to get things done (what do you think is more effective, you writing to a politician everyday to get something done, or getting a writing campaign done all around town to get something done?)

And those "blocks" are just convenient ways to organize expected voter behavior. There are some blacks that vote republican, and some evangelicals that vote democrat. They are seeking the votes of individuals, that they abstract the calculations out doesn't not change that fact.

Whammy wrote:Second, what's the problem with GenericCorporation trying to influence the election. That's sort of the point of democracy and campaigning and free speech and freedom of association. People get into groups to organize resources in order to gain influence in order to put forward agendas that serve their own ideals and interest. And guess what, there is more than one group out there! And even more, you have a brain and the ability to think! We're not exactly "slaves" to advertising; we can be influenced, but complaining about being influenced by advertising is like complaining about being influenced by a book or a pamphlet or a blog or whatever we get in contact with. Their "free speech" isn't harming your ability to make an intelligent decision at all. It's just one of many forces acting on your decision making processes.

GenericCorporation isn't a person, and elections are determined by people, by voting. You can say it's made up of people, but they already have their money, and they already have their votes. Do you think the shareholders of GenericCorporation are actually deciding whether it should support a candidate? No, it's the CEO, and the board, and a few other important corporate officers. They're using the collective resources of others to further their own interests- they will do what they can do keep the stock price, because that's their job and they like having a job, but all the little shareholders have effectively zero say in how this shapes out.

We aren't slaves to advertising, but anyone that underestimates their ability to be influenced by it does so foolishly. We might have developed society, and tools, and math, and language, and many other things, but humans are still rather primitive creatures in many ways, and smart advertising utilizes that.

Whammy wrote:
Ghostbear wrote:So "wanting a voice in politics" amounts to "hope that your views align with non evil corporations"? You keep assuming that people here are ascribing "evilness" to corporations, which can't be further from the truth: corporations are selfish, and care only for their own benefit. That is why we oppose their influence in politics.

Soooooo...you oppose people forming organizations in order to pool resources together in order to further their own self-interest? Cause that's what I mean by "wanting a voice of politics": get more people that have similar interest or agendas as you in order to get a larger influence in politics.

For the purposes of spending giant sums of money to influence elections? Yes, I do oppose it. Do you know how many Americans oppose Citizens United? About 80%, according to at least one poll. Logically, if all elections came down to was pooling resources together and getting your agenda accomplished, that 80% could accomplish that and get a constitutional amendment to undo Citizens United. That hasn't happened though- in fact, I only know of Bernie Senders intending to introduce such an amendment. Why? Partially because the available resources of that other 20% is so disproportionately large, they're able to get what they want anyway- members of congress universally love one thing, and one thing only: being reelected. Campaign donations and PAC support is a huge part of being reelected.

Whammy wrote:
Ghostbear wrote:When I vote, I have a concern for abortion rights- I am a male, and will only be influenced by them indirectly- gay rights- I am straight, and am directly unaffected by gay rights- helping the poor -I am not poor- ending the war on drugs- I have never used any drugs- and many other things. I consider all of those- and much more- when I vote, even though they serve little practical benefit to me, as a person.

Good for you!

Thanks for missing the entire point of that quote.

Whammy wrote:
Ghostbear wrote:A corporation would never concern itself with those factors because of the way it is structured. All a corporation will care about is increasing its profits, and in the manner of influencing politics, that is done most easily by actions that disadvantage the average citizen. Lower corporate tax rates, looser worker protection laws, weakened regulations, government subsidies- all of these are things that can be done to help citizens somewhat (if corporate tax rates were 95%, lowering them would be helpful, if regulations were needlessly onerous, lowering them would be good, if worker protection laws made it impossible to hire anyone, that would need fixing, government subsides can boost some industries that will later boom and hire many people) but the corporations will have zero concern for whether the outcome helps citizens- only if it helps its shareholders.

Okay, first off, corporations=/=business. Yes, corporate charters are used mostly for businesses, but it's also used for non-profit groups. Last time I checked, the ACLU wasn't out their working for lower corporate tax rates, or the NAACP wanting to weaken the welfare system, or the Sierra Club working to get rid of environmental regulations...

And as I mentioned above, groups like the ACLU aren't making their major accomplishments through campaign spending. For the purposes of campaign financing, fuck the ACLU and the NAACP and the Sierra Club. They might have nice goals, or they might not, it doesn't matter- keep their money out of politics. Further, even those groups will work solely for the purposes that benefit them. Do you not see the issue with that? Exxon-Mobil doesn't give three shits if their government subsidies adds to the debt and forces cuts to other government services, or increased taxes, in order to counteract those subsidies. They just want their free money.

Whammy wrote:Second, plenty of ideological stances believe that things that benefit corporations benefit society.

Then those ideological stances are held by morons.
...
OK, I'll expand on that- yes, some benefits to corporations will be capable of helping society on the whole. I already gave my example of lowering a corporate tax rate that was at 95%- lowering something like that to more reasonable numbers would benefit society. It's pure stupidity to assume that anything that benefits corporations also benefits society. Just as it's stupid to think that anything that hurts corporations benefits society. Very few things are absolutes, so assuming that "things that benefit corporations benefit society" full stop, is just dumb, and I'm going to call those people morons for living in a mythical realm of black and white and ignoring all this wonderful grey.

Also, maybe it's just me, but I see it as somewhat pointless to counteract a point with something you don't actually agree with. "Some people" believe a lot of things, but if I don't agree with them, and it's not an argument involving them there's no purpose in me bringing them up, no?

Whammy wrote:And third, so what if corporations are out there trying to help their shareholders? That's...sort of the point of a business corporation. Just because you disagree with their goals doesn't necessarily mean they are less deserving of rights.

This is the single most tired argument in favor of corporate greed I see. Yes, they will do that, and yes, it is their purpose, as per their legal framework. So? Does the fact that it's their purpose mean I lose the option to look at it and say "this is not beneficial to society at large, and should be changed" ? Do I lose the right the criticize it, because they're only doing what they're meant to do? Can I no longer call it out for it's flaws? No, of course not. They exist within their purposes, but the results of that pursuing purpose should be criticized if it is found deserving of such. It was decided after WW2 that "just following orders" wasn't a sufficient excuse for doing bad things- so too, is "it's what we're supposed to do" not enough to fully absolve an entity for being harmful in many of its actions.

In the context of elections, it is noteworthy because, as per my earlier point, voters will consider more than just their own immediate benefit. They consider themselves, their friends, their family, issues that are emotional to them, their pets, their community at large- all of these, and many more, or maybe even many less, depending on the person, will be considered. That is a good thing, otherwise we would devolve into a rather chaotic and dysfunctional society. Corporations, on the other hand, only care at themselves. That's it. WalMart doesn't care about the war in Iraq, or abortion, or military spending, or healthcare, or even its own employees (unless employment drips insanely low), all it'd care about is anything that allows it to lower the costs of doing business no matter the cost the society. It's that last bit, the part where the externalities are of no concern to them, that is important. That's why it's bad. Imagine power generation- coal produces huge amounts of pollution, though the direct production costs per TW-hour are really, really low. A coal company would do everything it could to remove any and all pollution standards, because then it'd be that much more profitable- the effects of the pollution would just be forced on everyone else.

Whammy wrote:
Ghostbear wrote:My only way to fight back against that is to vote, I will never have the resources to be able to compete against it, neither will everyone I ever meet that cares about it. The only way to compete with it is to play the game on the same rules as them, but at that point you have become what you are fighting against, and will slowly succumb to being part of the problem you are fighting.

Yes, you as an individual will never have the resources. You are allowed the freedom to form associations or to join groups that may have similar goals and ideals as you in order to more effectively use resources, or the court system. And of course you'd compete with the same rules; it's called democracy, and you're just one more group in a giant battle between competing groups. Also, voting is sort of a big deal, but again, isn't useful if you can't get a group of people. Seriously, democracy is a group activity; people really need to remember that.

The point was that no matter how many people I find out like mind to associate with, I will not be able to compete with those entrenched groups. See my response dealing with the 80% of American's opposed to Citizens United- I feel that part of my reply adequately covers this as well.

How is democracy a group activity relevant here? Many of the greatest historical advances in democracy (beyond increasing suffrage) have been to abstract out the "group" part. Take the secret ballot or the representative republic. Those weaken the "group" part of democracy, but allow it to function far better for the governments of the modern era. Direct democracy gets you systems like California, where on one hand the electorate votes to increase spending, and on the other hand votes against increased funding to cover that spending.

Whammy wrote:
Ghostbear wrote:I leave you (and anyone else defending Citizens United) a simple question: Politics is already dangerously prone to corruption, at all levels, with potentially significant negative results from such; why should we open it up to make that corruption that much easier?

..that Citizen's United didn't do anything like that? All it did is say "Corporations and other groups have the right to use electioneering communications without limitations". Direct contributions are still banned, they are still required to disclose and put disclaimers, limits on contributions are still allowed. Unless you're saying a TV commercial is corruption, I see no reason it would be a corrupting influence as long as citizens are vigilant and willing to be participatory in politics.

One of the facets of corruption in modern politics is being overly beholden to groups with large amounts of money. That was already an issue before Citizens United- surely you don't disagree that that is more of a threat now than it was before? Congress just wants to be reelected, and these groups have the tools (money) that they need to get reelected. Before, there was a limitation on their ability to offer that tool (money) to congress members in order to get what they wanted. Now, it's gone- members of congress will care far more what these groups have to say, because these groups will have a very direct influence on their ability to be reelected.

Whammy wrote:
Ghostbear wrote:EDIT: Additionally, campaign funding and messaging aren't a closed system. With finance limitations, my donation of $5 to a candidate is much more significant than it is in a campaign where super PACs are expected to spend several hundred million dollars. If a campaign is running advertisements in a state, they are less potent if someone else is spending to drown them out in attack ads. By increasing the "free speech" of corporations, you directly weaken that same free speech for citizens. Citizen rights should always* trump the rights of entities that exist only as a legal construct with the sole purpose of making money.

* Cue a nitpicking where someone tries to find an example where they shouldn't.


Again though, the right of citizen's is the basis of Citizen's United; your right as a citizen is not lost just because you are in a group.

OK, I'm sorry if this comes across as rude, but you completely missed the entire point of what I was saying there. I honestly don't know how to say it simpler or better- I will never claim to be particularly talented at articulation- but the power of an average individual citizen's speech has been weakened by Citizens United, not strengthened. I thought I had given a good explanation of how, but apparently not- please (and I mean this honestly, and not sarcastically) re-read that quoted bit from me. Since I apparently did a poor job writing it, tell me where it confuses you (knowing that it has been read wrong), and I'll try to re-explain it. It's an important point, and I want to be able to highlight it, but I do not know how to rephrase it better at the moment. I suppose it's a bit rude of me to ask your help in being able to make my own point though, so I won't begrudge you if you decline. I'll see if I can think of a better way to say it after sleeping on it.

Oh wow, I wrote a lot of stuff there. Sorry about that, fans of brevity.

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Re: Colbert likely running for Pres of the U.S of S Carolina

Postby Whammy » Sun Jan 15, 2012 7:17 am UTC

...yep, we're in "new thread" territory by this point XD. I'll reply to your post sometime tomorrow in a new thread so we aren't drowning Colbert here in lots and lots of words.

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Re: Colbert likely running for Pres of the U.S of S Carolina

Postby folkhero » Sun Jan 15, 2012 7:46 am UTC

Ghostbear wrote:
Whammy wrote:
Ghostbear wrote:I have no opposition to also limiting the campaign spending of those other groups. Go ahead, limit all of them- unions, corporations, lobbyists. Do it. I'll be happy!

...okay you realize you just limited the ability of pretty much ANY ORGANIZATION IN THE ENTIRE US.

Yeah, wonderful isn't it? Let them focus on their actual purposes, instead of winning elections.

What about the Wall Street Journal, the Huffington Post or CNN (or, you know, the actual Citizen's United corporation), should they be restricted from using their substantial resources (financial and otherwise) to talk about political issues? If so, who determines which corporations are allowed to use their resources for political speech and who doesn't?

Some people might think that those Truth anti-smoking commercials are a form of political speech, or those "I'm a Mormon" commercials. Who decides what speech is verboten (for the purposes of corporate funding) political speech and what is regular allowable speech?
To all law enforcement entities, this is not an admission of guilt...

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Re: Colbert likely running for Pres of the U.S of S Carolina

Postby sardia » Sun Jan 15, 2012 8:45 am UTC

Counterpoint, what was so bad about free speech prior to citizen's united?

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Re: Colbert likely running for Pres of the U.S of S Carolina

Postby elasto » Sun Jan 15, 2012 8:53 am UTC

Counterpoint, what was so bad about free speech prior to citizen's united?
Quite. Or, indeed, what's so bad about how countries like the UK do it with significantly less reverence towards the right of businesses to act to influence politicians?

folkhero wrote:What about the Wall Street Journal, the Huffington Post or CNN (or, you know, the actual Citizen's United corporation), should they be restricted from using their substantial resources (financial and otherwise) to talk about political issues?
Yes they should. At least around election times. At such times the media should be mandated to be politically neutral and give equal airtime to all candidates and parties.

While it will never be possible to enforce perfect neutrality, assuming your society hasn't been idiotic enough to allow politics to infiltrate the court system and the civil service* it should be fairly easy to clamp down on the worst excesses of partisanship. (Well, in the tv age. Less easy in the net-tv age admittedly.)

Some people might think that those Truth anti-smoking commercials are a form of political speech, or those "I'm a Mormon" commercials. Who decides what speech is verboten (for the purposes of corporate funding) political speech and what is regular allowable speech?
The courts, having jealously guarded their political neutrality*, can settle disputes.

Meanwhile, the taxpayer can fund an extremely limited allowance for the politicians to spend on advertising - that or media networks can be forced to give over a portion of advertising space for free around election time as part of their social contract with society - assuming your society is sane enough to believe that businesses should serve society and not rule it. It's fairly easy to come up with rules that don't entrench the existing parties but allow new ones to come through too.


*Oh, darn. Your country has allowed the checks and balances of a tripartite system to become compromised by having the judiciary politicised? Damn, you are pretty much screwed until you can work that out of the system. That could easily take generations if not forever.
Last edited by elasto on Sun Jan 15, 2012 9:04 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Colbert likely running for Pres of the U.S of S Carolina

Postby folkhero » Sun Jan 15, 2012 9:02 am UTC

How about the fact that a small political non-profit group was censored, and their movie was not allowed to be shown on pay-per-view television because it made a politician look bad, while she was running for office?
To all law enforcement entities, this is not an admission of guilt...

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Re: Colbert likely running for Pres of the U.S of S Carolina

Postby elasto » Sun Jan 15, 2012 9:06 am UTC

folkhero wrote:How about the fact that a small political non-profit group was censored, and their movie was not allowed to be shown on pay-per-view television because it made a politician look bad, while she was running for office?
That would be wrong. The media doesn't need to engage in a factual blackout. But, around election time, politicians should be allowed a cost-free right of reply to any investigative journalism that portrays them in a bad light.

(I assume we are talking about investigative journalism anyhow, else, no, accounts of fiction based on real politicians can wait until after election season is over.)

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Re: Colbert likely running for Pres of the U.S of S Carolina

Postby folkhero » Sun Jan 15, 2012 9:34 am UTC

elasto wrote:
folkhero wrote:How about the fact that a small political non-profit group was censored, and their movie was not allowed to be shown on pay-per-view television because it made a politician look bad, while she was running for office?
That would be wrong.
That wasn't a hypothetical, Citizens United was the small political non-profit, their movie was censored, that's what the Citizens United v Federal Election Commission case was about.

elasto wrote:The media doesn't need to engage in a factual blackout. But, around election time, politicians should be allowed a cost-free right of reply to any investigative journalism that portrays them in a bad light.

They have that right, they just open their mouths and say their reply. If they want someone else to foot the bill for distributing their (likely spin-doctored bullshit [let's face it we are talking about politicians here] ) reply, then I say no.

elasto wrote:(I assume we are talking about investigative journalism anyhow, else, no, accounts of fiction based on real politicians can wait until after election season is over.)
If it isn't slanderous, why should this sort of speech only be free when and where the government says? Why should the runup to elections be a time where speech is less free? Should TNT be restricted from showing the Oliver Stone film W. any time Jeb Bush runs for office somewhere? With election season growing longer and longer, the, "your speech can wait," policy will mean speech will less free more often. NO. THANKS.
To all law enforcement entities, this is not an admission of guilt...

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Re: Colbert likely running for Pres of the U.S of S Carolina

Postby elasto » Sun Jan 15, 2012 10:03 am UTC

folkhero wrote:That wasn't a hypothetical, Citizens United was the small political non-profit, their movie was censored, that's what the Citizens United v Federal Election Commission case was about.
Fine. Just allow a right of reply. Politics from one side shouldn't be allowed to go unanswered.

They have that right, they just open their mouths and say their reply. If they want someone else to foot the bill for distributing their (likely spin-doctored bullshit [let's face it we are talking about politicians here] ) reply, then I say no.
Noone need foot the bill. If the media company doesn't want to allow a right of reply they should simply refuse to air the initial propaganda piece. And they can charge whoever wants to show the initial piece twice as much to cover their costs, so politicians are footing the bill entirely. Personally I'd prefer taxpayers fund it for the simple reason that the total spend can then be capped very low, but there are other ways to work it so neither the taxpayer nor the media company are out any money. Election funding costs have spiralled ridiculously out of control under your system. The two main political parties in the UK spend about £10m each on direct electioneering every five years for comparison.

If it isn't slanderous, why should this sort of speech only be free when and where the government says? Why should the runup to elections be a time where speech is less free? Should TNT be restricted from showing the Oliver Stone film W. any time Jeb Bush runs for office somewhere? With election season growing longer and longer, the, "your speech can wait," policy will mean speech will less free more often. NO. THANKS.
The answer to the election season going longer and longer is to allow the government to call a snap election. It's fixed election cycles that causes the 'arms race' of ever lengthening electioneering.

And you act as if this restriction of free speech will somehow cause problems when most other Western democracies do just fine without placing the virtue of free speech on such a pedestal that other virtues get trampled by the wayside.

Let's be clear: Speech is not being restricted here - you can still say anything you like (within the limits of the slander laws) - it's just one-sided speech that is being restricted. Yes, there are dangers in going down that path but there are also dangers in allowing anyone to dominate the political battleground simply by outspending the opposition. If all parts of society had equal wealth it wouldn't be an issue; unfortunately a tiny fraction of society has most of the wealth so their political views will be disproportionately represented, which is fundamentally undemocratic. I mean, do you think this might possibly be a factor as to why your left-wing, 'Socialist' party is to the right of most European countries' right-wing parties?

And then, as mentioned before, you also open up your society to foreign money influencing your electorate which is arguably even worse for your country's democratic future. Under this mantra of 'free speech is the only virtue that matters' what is to stop China spending a billion dollars influencing the US political landscape such that tariffs against them are reduced by five billion?

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Re: Colbert likely running for Pres of the U.S of S Carolina

Postby folkhero » Sun Jan 15, 2012 11:55 am UTC

elasto wrote:
They have that right, they just open their mouths and say their reply. If they want someone else to foot the bill for distributing their (likely spin-doctored bullshit [let's face it we are talking about politicians here] ) reply, then I say no.
Noone need foot the bill. If the media company doesn't want to allow a right of reply they should simply refuse to air the initial propaganda piece. And they can charge whoever wants to show the initial piece twice as much to cover their costs, so politicians are footing the bill entirely. Personally I'd prefer taxpayers fund it but there are other ways to work it so neither the taxpayer nor the media company are out any money.
So walk me through this, I'm making a movie about some political candidates. I think it's fair and even-handed, one or more of the candidates might think that the film shows them in a poor light. Who decides if the film is one sided? Do I have to show my film to a third party bureaucrat, wait however long for the judgement to come down while I cross my fingers and hope that the bureaucrat is some sort of unbiased superman? Do I send my film to each candidate for them to decide if it is fair to them? What if they never get back to me? How long will I have to wait for a response? Is the burden of proof on me that I made a good faith effort to contact them? Why should I trust their judgement when their incentives are clearly in favor of saying that they weren't portrayed fairly so that they can slap a campaign ad to the end of my movie?

Now lets say that it is determined (however that will happen) that the movie treated three of the candidates unfairly they get their responses. Do I have to pay for my camera/light/sound crew to go to them and get the response? Will I pay the editors, and if so, how can the editors and I be trusted to represent the reply unbiasedly? Say my film is 90 minutes, do they each get 90 minutes to respond making the movie a 6 hour monstrosity? Can I just put their responses in fine print after the credits so that no one will read them?

elasto wrote:And you act as if this restriction of free speech will somehow cause problems when most other Western democracies do just fine without placing the virtue of free speech on such a pedestal that other virtues get trampled by the wayside.
It's that I think restriction of speech will cause problems so much as that I think restriction of speech is a problem.

elasto wrote:Let's be clear: Speech is not being restricted here - you can still say anything you like (within the limits of the slander laws) - it's just one-sided speech that is being restricted.
What's the name of the thing where you say something, and then in the next sentence you say the contradiction of that something? Well, maybe it doesn't have a name, but it should because then this would be a great example of it. Here's what I see when I read the quoted:

Let's be clear: Speech is not being restricted here - you can still say anything you like (within the limits of the slander laws) - it's just speech that I don't like that is being restricted.

There is also the "who decides?" question. I'm not going to focus on that though because when people argue at me with logical contradictions, it becomes a priority to get those cleared up before we continue.

elasto wrote:And then, as mentioned before, you also open up your society to foreign money influencing your electorate which is arguably even worse for your country's democratic future. Under this mantra of 'free speech is the only virtue that matters' what is to stop China spending a billion dollars influencing the US political landscape such that tariffs against them are reduced by five billion?
I really don't like economic protectionism so I wouldn't really mind China getting tariffs reduced. As to the question of foreigners using money to send messages to the American people in general: I dunno, if the American people can't be trusted to hear the ideas of foreigners without screwing up their own country, then maybe we aren't cut out for having a democracy anyway.
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Re: Colbert likely running for Pres of the U.S of S Carolina

Postby elasto » Sun Jan 15, 2012 1:28 pm UTC

folkhero wrote:So walk me through this, I'm making a movie about some political candidates. I think it's fair and even-handed, one or more of the candidates might think that the film shows them in a poor light. Who decides if the film is one sided? Do I have to show my film to a third party bureaucrat, wait however long for the judgement to come down while I cross my fingers and hope that the bureaucrat is some sort of unbiased superman? Do I send my film to each candidate for them to decide if it is fair to them? What if they never get back to me? How long will I have to wait for a response? Is the burden of proof on me that I made a good faith effort to contact them? Why should I trust their judgement when their incentives are clearly in favor of saying that they weren't portrayed fairly so that they can slap a campaign ad to the end of my movie?

Now lets say that it is determined (however that will happen) that the movie treated three of the candidates unfairly they get their responses. Do I have to pay for my camera/light/sound crew to go to them and get the response? Will I pay the editors, and if so, how can the editors and I be trusted to represent the reply unbiasedly? Say my film is 90 minutes, do they each get 90 minutes to respond making the movie a 6 hour monstrosity? Can I just put their responses in fine print after the credits so that no one will read them?

You're overcomplicating things. In the UK such political films probably just simply wouldn't get shown during the 30 days or so before the electorate go to the polls. Unless it represents a deliberate attempt to alter the election why would it matter if it just gets shown a month later? No harm no foul.

What happens is the media companies are allowed to use their own judgement on all this, no bureaucrat 'pre-vets' such things. But if they go ahead, and the courts determine that it was indeed overtly politically biased, then they will suffer some fairly small sanction, that's all. No one film is going to make a significant difference to the outcome, after all, it's only if it's rampant - in which case all the media firms involved would suffer major sanctions - perhaps even in extreme cases losing their broadcasting licence(s).

It's that I think restriction of speech will cause problems so much as that I think restriction of speech is a problem.

And this is you giving free speech primacy over all other rights as if that doesn't in itself cause problems. Presumably you don't think restriction of slanderous speech is a problem, so you already accept it is allowable if the benefits of restriction outweigh the drawbacks. This is just another such instance.

What's the name of the thing where you say something, and then in the next sentence you say the contradiction of that something? Well, maybe it doesn't have a name, but it should because then this would be a great example of it. Here's what I see when I read the quoted:

Let's be clear: Speech is not being restricted here - you can still say anything you like (within the limits of the slander laws) - it's just speech that I don't like that is being restricted.

There is also the "who decides?" question. I'm not going to focus on that though because when people argue at me with logical contradictions, it becomes a priority to get those cleared up before we continue.

That's splitting hairs. So if I instead said 'it's not speech being restricted here, it's only slander that is restricted', you wouldn't understand what I was saying? Fine. Speech is being restricted, but only speech that is unduly biased towards one political party or the other.

And it's important that we understand who is doing it because that matters greatly: The judiciary in the UK has prided itself on its political independence for centuries. People rise through the ranks of the judiciary on the basis of proficiency in the law and not at the behest of any politician. They are perfectly capable of examining a situation and determining if there is a high degree of political bias towards one side or the other involved. And it can and will let marginal cases slide because, well, who cares, they aren't going to affect an election. It only need sanction gross examples of misconduct, which, frankly, are obvious to everyone when they occur (which, incidentally, means noone attempts to do so.)

I really don't like economic protectionism so I wouldn't really mind China getting tariffs reduced. As to the question of foreigners using money to send messages to the American people in general: I dunno, if the American people can't be trusted to hear the ideas of foreigners without screwing up their own country, then maybe we aren't cut out for having a democracy anyway.

Ok, so if you don't like tariffs anyway, maybe let's give other examples. Maybe by China giving a billion dollars to 'non-profit friends' of one of the parties for it to spend on advertising, that party, on being elected, ups government donations to charities operating amongst China's rural poor by five billion. Or maybe it places defence contracts that it would have placed with US firms with Chinese ones. Or maybe a thousand other ways it could funnel money from the US back to China. Is that acceptable in your worldview? Cos it's a perfectly conceivable outcome if you allow unrestricted spending of foreign monies in elections.

Anyhow, it's far too defeatist for you to give up on the American electorate like that. Advertising does make a difference - which is why your politicians spend a billion dollars on it and companies spend much more advertising their products. That's precisely why it needs to be reigned in for the 30 days before an election, though, to give each party equal opportunity to make its case in a positive way, based purely on its merits, free from third-party lobbying and all the rest of it.

Again, simply just look at how other countries manage to achieve it without the sky falling before you condemn the idea. Yes, free speech is vitally important for a free and democratic society, but it's not the only vitally important thing. And sometimes, just very occasionally, a slight and temporary reduction in a right to free speech can vastly improve a society overall. We restrict people from shouting fire in a crowded theatre, and we restrict people from making slanderous statements, and this is just such another example of where there's more of a benefit to society having a slight and temporary restriction than leaving speech totally unrestricted.

On a side-issue, the UK is lucky in addition in that it has a broadcasting company that is free from government control and influence - and also free from market and shareholder influence. It literally has no reason to be biased either towards or away from any political party, nor does it have any reason to seek the lowest common denominator in order to maintain market-share; It can just seek to carry out its mandate of fair and balanced broadcasting. Sure, it wont always get it right but it kinda puts a limit on just how low the other media companies can let their standards slip.

[Personally I think this model of a public company in a private marketplace should be extended to all sorts of other social spheres: The private companies can be on the cutting edge of efficiencies, which eventually get taken up by the public company too, and the public company can set a standard of quality which the private companies can't fall too far below lest they lose market share to it.]

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Re: Colbert likely running for Pres of the U.S of S Carolina

Postby Ghostbear » Sun Jan 15, 2012 4:54 pm UTC

folkhero wrote:What about the Wall Street Journal, the Huffington Post or CNN (or, you know, the actual Citizen's United corporation), should they be restricted from using their substantial resources (financial and otherwise) to talk about political issues? If so, who determines which corporations are allowed to use their resources for political speech and who doesn't?

Some people might think that those Truth anti-smoking commercials are a form of political speech, or those "I'm a Mormon" commercials. Who decides what speech is verboten (for the purposes of corporate funding) political speech and what is regular allowable speech?

I'm going to skip over the conversation the two of you are having and focus on this, since it was aimed at me. I don't see this question as being particularly complicated. The answer to who gets to decide these questions is the same people who decide it now (we still need to know what is political speech even in the current setup: Obama can't collaborate with a PAC, but he can collaborate with other groups), and before Citizens United. Presumably, some of that falls under the umbrella of the FEC. News reporting agencies seemed to be at a decent balance, and the restricted time window wasn't exactly onerous unless your goal was to attempt to change the election, in which case your speech should be pretty easily determinable to be political speech.

The system wasn't perfect before, but it seemed to be pretty functional. Perhaps they leaned too strongly on the side of restrictions, perhaps they leaned too heavily in the opposite direction- I wouldn't say it'd be unreasonable to believe either of those true. If something is flawed like that though, you don't go ahead and turn the whole thing on its head and toss a huge number of restrictions out the window.

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Re: Colbert likely running for Pres of the U.S of S Carolina

Postby The Reaper » Sun Jan 15, 2012 5:11 pm UTC

http://www.buzzfeed.com/zekejmiller/col ... y-in-first
The Super PAC formerly run by Stephen Colbert, Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow, has released its first ad to air in South Carolina this week.

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Re: Colbert likely running for Pres of the U.S of S Carolina

Postby Whammy » Sun Jan 15, 2012 5:47 pm UTC

Okay, so this thread can get back to Colbert, I decided to start up a thread specifically dealing with the whole Citizen's United stuff here: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=79562

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Re: Colbert likely running for Pres of the U.S of S Carolina

Postby . . » Mon Jan 16, 2012 2:09 am UTC

Hello all!

I saw the actual show on Thursday. The whole thing is clearly just a joke.

He was mainly pretending that he would run in the primary in order to continue an ongoing joke about "super PACs." (He has actually started a real super PAC and apparently raised an obscene amount of money)

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Re: Colbert likely running for Pres of the U.S of S Carolina

Postby Iulus Cofield » Wed Jan 18, 2012 3:28 pm UTC

He announced a couple of nights ago that he's not running on the grounds that it's a locked primary and he missed the deadline to register by two months and there's no write in option. He did endorse one of the candidates who dropped out but remains on the ballot due to the locked primary. I think it was the guy who had all those sex scandals.

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Re: Colbert likely running for Pres of the U.S of S Carolina

Postby yedidyak » Wed Jan 18, 2012 3:50 pm UTC

Iulus Cofield wrote:He announced a couple of nights ago that he's not running on the grounds that it's a locked primary and he missed the deadline to register by two months and there's no write in option. He did endorse one of the candidates who dropped out but remains on the ballot due to the locked primary. I think it was the guy who had all those sex scandals.


He told people to 'Raise Cain' to show their support. He had already satirically endorsed Cain, but this is a way to make his point without being allowed on the ballot.

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Re: Colbert likely running for Pres of the U.S of S Carolina

Postby Newt » Wed Jan 18, 2012 7:44 pm UTC

Didn't he already do this gimmick a couple years ago?

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Re: Colbert likely running for Pres of the U.S of S Carolina

Postby jakovasaur » Wed Jan 18, 2012 11:35 pm UTC

He's not endorsing Cain, he's saying that he will interpret any vote for Cain as a vote for him. So he's just using Cain as a stand-in for himself, since he can't get on the ballot.

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Re: Colbert likely running for Pres of the U.S of S Carolina

Postby Diadem » Tue Jan 24, 2012 5:14 pm UTC

So I'm watching yesterday's Colbert Report now. And I get the whole joke about running for president, and the whole super pac business. I get the joke of holding a rally. But what is the real Herman Cain doing there?

What does he have to gain by associating himself with a comedian who makes fun of him and isn't even remotely Republican? Or is this a case of 'I'm no longer running, I can finally be honest'?
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Re: Colbert likely running for Pres of the U.S of S Carolina

Postby The Great Hippo » Tue Jan 24, 2012 5:16 pm UTC

Diadem wrote:So I'm watching yesterday's Colbert Report now. And I get the whole joke about running for president, and the whole super pac business. I get the joke of holding a rally. But what is the real Herman Cain doing there?

What does he have to gain by associating himself with a comedian who makes fun of him and isn't even remotely Republican? Or is this a case of 'I'm no longer running, I can finally be honest'?
I took it as an indication that Herman Cain isn't taking this all too seriously. It's probably a sign of a healthy democracy when a politician can show up side-by-side with the comedian who regularly lambastes him and they both trade a few joking quips.

EDIT: Of course, the fact that no one actually running would likely do the same...

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Re: Colbert likely running for Pres of the U.S of S Carolina

Postby buddy431 » Tue Jan 24, 2012 5:47 pm UTC

Diadem wrote:So I'm watching yesterday's Colbert Report now. And I get the whole joke about running for president, and the whole super pac business. I get the joke of holding a rally. But what is the real Herman Cain doing there?

What does he have to gain by associating himself with a comedian who makes fun of him and isn't even remotely Republican? Or is this a case of 'I'm no longer running, I can finally be honest'?


My impression of Cain is that he really is a pretty likable and nice guy. Yeah, he may have a platform that's pretty nuts, but he seems like a guy you could be friends with even if you disagree with him, and I think this reinforces that view.
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Re: Colbert likely running for Pres of the U.S of S Carolina

Postby folkhero » Tue Jan 24, 2012 9:39 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:I took it as an indication that Herman Cain isn't taking this all too seriously. It's probably a sign of a healthy democracy when a politician can show up side-by-side with the comedian who regularly lambastes him and they both trade a few joking quips.

EDIT: Of course, the fact that no one actually running would likely do the same...

Wasn't McCain on the Daily Show trading quips with Steward while he was running? Or am I misremembering?
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Re: Colbert likely running for Pres of the U.S of S Carolina

Postby Iulus Cofield » Wed Jan 25, 2012 6:10 am UTC

McCain also had editorials about him saying he needed to stop hurting himself by being buddy buddy with journalists.


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