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Thread: NRA sez Citizens United Decision Repealed Unconstitutional Legislation

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    Supreme Court Hands Down Key Campaign Finance Decision--
    Repeals Unconstitutional Restrictions on Political Speech



    Friday, January 22, 2010




    NRA praised the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision yesterday in the case of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission that removed unconstitutional restrictions on NRA’s ability to speak freely at election time.



    The late Sen. Paul Wellstone had said during the originaldebateover this legislation that it was his intention to silence groups like NRA. While the author of this measure had singled out NRA, this law delivered a clear message to all American citizens: “Keep your mouths shut and stay out of our political debates.”

    NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre, said, “This ruling is a victory for anyone who believes that the First Amendment applies to each and every one of us. The majesty of free speech is that any American can roll out of bed and speak as freely as The New York Times, NBC or politicians. This is a defeat for arrogant elitists who wanted to carve out free speech as a privilege for themselves and deny it to the rest of us; and for those who believed that speech had a dollar value and should be treated and regulated like currency, and not a freedom. Today’s decision reaffirms that the Bill of Rights was written for every American and it will amplify the voice of average citizens who want their voices heard.”

    The case originally centered on the Federal Election Commission’s (FEC) denial of Citizens United’s attempt to broadcast a film about Hillary Clinton through on-demand cable services in January 2008, but had broader implications in protecting the First Amendment rights of organizations like NRA during elections.

    NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris W. Cox, said, “This decision today returns sanityto our political system. The First Amendment doesnot allow Congress to make laws denying Americans the right to speak out on issues, the right to assemble or organize on public policy issues, or the right to petition our government for redress of grievances.”












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    "Amendment 1
    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition
    the Government for a redress of grievances."

    In this case I see:
    The NRA, Phillip Morris, the ACLU, etc as a group of persons assembling and speaking with the intent to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
    Due to the TYPE of association (assembly) and the INTENT of the speech (which is specifically protected), Congress has ventured to make a law to regulate and essentially ban this activity (speech and assembly) in flagrant disregard for the 1st Amendment.

    I welcome any pathetic arguments claiming what I just said to be false.
    How much more clear could the Constitution be on this issue? Let me ask another way, what would the framers have had to say, to convince you that political groups, corporations and unions would be ALLOWED to engage in this, now protected, activity?

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    ufcfanvt wrote:
    "Amendment 1
    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition
    the Government for a redress of grievances."

    In this case I see:
    The NRA, Phillip Morris, the ACLU, etc as a group of persons assembling and speaking with the intent to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
    Due to the TYPE of association (assembly) and the INTENT of the speech (which is specifically protected), Congress has ventured to make a law to regulate and essentially ban this activity (speech and assembly) in flagrant disregard for the 1st Amendment.

    I welcome any pathetic arguments claiming what I just said to be false.
    How much more clear could the Constitution be on this issue? Let me ask another way, what would the framers have had to say, to convince you that political groups, corporations and unions would be ALLOWED to engage in this, now protected, activity?
    Nothing stopped these groups from Petitioning for redress of grievances before. Hence the fleet of lobbyists, the industry PACs, and the "issue ads" that bombarded the airwaves during the last election cycle (and during the health care debate)urging folks to "call your Congressmen."

    What was prohibited for the last 100 years -- and successive Supreme Court rulings--but is no longer -- is corporations, unions, and the like directly electioneering.

    These groups have the ability to buy elections wholesale out of petty cash. Moneyed interests can outspend individuals and politicians alike and bury any voices who would dare take them on.

    With the possible exception of a few out-gunned groups like the NRA andthe ACLU, these groups don't give a flying flibagibbet about individual rights. Wonders what kind of priorities politicians will have when theyare routinely bought and paid for by corporations. Doubtful that self-defense -- against BGs or tyrrany -- will be high on the list.

    Our founders recognized that there was a difference between people and associations. They railed against the "mischief of factions." Up till now, the law also recognized a distinction between theelectoral rights of real individuals and fictional ones. A constitution which permits such distinctions to be drawn is the stronger.

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    Nice misdirection Donkey. Let's define some of your terms:

    "Directly electioneering" = speaking freely on any day you want (including the day before elections) about an issue central to your purpose.

    "Bury any voices" = speak a lot and often, over mediums reaching lots of people. Ooooh, dangerous to ... Liberty? Try again.

    We're stronger than this and our Founders knew that. If we're not strong enough to read and inform ourselves about each candidate, outside of what the boob-tube tells us, then we don't deserve Liberty!

    And you're right, our Founding Fathers did "rally against the 'mischief of factions.'" But you see, they never outlawed the speech of those factions. That's what King George would have done...

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    ufcfanvt wrote:
    Nice misdirection Donkey. Let's define some of your terms:

    "Directly electioneering" = speaking freely on any day you want (including the day before elections) about an issue central to your purpose.

    "Bury any voices" = speak a lot and often, over mediums reaching lots of people. Ooooh, dangerous to ... Liberty? Try again.

    We're stronger than this and our Founders knew that. If we're not strong enough to read and inform ourselves about each candidate, outside of what the boob-tube tells us, then we don't deserve Liberty!

    And you're right, our Founding Fathers did "rally against the 'mischief of factions.'" But you see, they never outlawed the speech of those factions. That's what King George would have done...
    Advertising does significantly influence elections, but that does not mean that you and I "don't deserve liberty." We can recognize reality. Trouble is, in the aftermath of Citizens United, we can no longer recognize laws that recognize reality.

    As to the founders, some of them voted topass the Alien and Sedition Acts. Those same founders may have opposed the Federal Election Act and McCain-Feingold . . . . Power views open public forums with suspicion, and these laws stopped the public airwaves from being open only to the highest bidders.

    King George would have bought all the revolutionary printing presses in the colonies if they were offerred to him for sale.

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    The Donkey wrote:
    These groups have the ability to buy elections wholesale out of petty cash. Moneyed interests can outspend individuals and politicians alike and bury any voices who would dare take them on.
    Yeah, those poor out-spent folks like John Kerry, Jon Corzine, John Edwards, Michael Bloomberg, etc, etc, etc...

    No matter what chaff you have to throw at this issue, you will never get past the absolute mind-numbing fact that four justices of the US Supreme Court voted to uphold, and all the left-leaning liberal tools that support and put them there, are screaming and pulling their collective hair out in support of a law that would allow the US Government to ban books for no other reason than their content relates to an election.

    May God grant us what ever mercy it takes to prevent us from ever becoming a country that allows its government to ban books and jail authors solely because of the content therein.

    TFred


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    TFred wrote:
    The Donkey wrote:
    These groups have the ability to buy elections wholesale out of petty cash. Moneyed interests can outspend individuals and politicians alike and bury any voices who would dare take them on.
    Yeah, those poor out-spent folks like John Kerry, Jon Corzine, John Edwards, Michael Bloomberg, etc, etc, etc...

    No matter what chaff you have to throw at this issue, you will never get past the absolute mind-numbing fact that four justices of the US Supreme Court voted to uphold, and all the left-leaning liberal tools that support and put them there, are screaming and pulling their collective hair out in support of a law that would allow the US Government to ban books for no other reason than their content relates to an election.

    May God grant us what ever mercy it takes to prevent us from ever becoming a country that allows its government to ban books and jail authors solely because of the content therein.

    TFred
    The decision guarantees that we will have more representatives with pockets as deep as Kerry, Corzine, Edwards and Bloomburg, and fewer like you and me. (I should just say me, because Iknow nothingabout your pockets. Buton the chance thatyou find yourself in that rarified company, TFred, I would appreciate it if you would spread some this way).

    I agree with much of what you say about books. But the FEC has never attempted to ban a book: if it had, the attempt would have failed without Citizens United on the basis of a First Amendment"as applied" challenge. Book banning in this context is a straw man in search of a fire.

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    ufcfanvt wrote:
    "Amendment 1
    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition
    the Government for a redress of grievances."

    In this case I see:
    The NRA, Phillip Morris, the ACLU, etc as a group of persons assembling and speaking with the intent to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
    Due to the TYPE of association (assembly) and the INTENT of the speech (which is specifically protected), Congress has ventured to make a law to regulate and essentially ban this activity (speech and assembly) in flagrant disregard for the 1st Amendment.

    I welcome any pathetic arguments claiming what I just said to be false.
    How much more clear could the Constitution be on this issue? Let me ask another way, what would the framers have had to say, to convince you that political groups, corporations and unions would be ALLOWED to engage in this, now protected, activity?
    Gotta agree with ya there.

    The Donkey wrote:
    Nothing stopped these groups from Petitioning for redress of grievances before. Hence the fleet of lobbyists, the industry PACs, and the "issue ads" that bombarded the airwaves during the last election cycle (and during the health care debate)urging folks to "call your Congressmen."

    What was prohibited for the last 100 years -- and successive Supreme Court rulings--but is no longer -- is corporations, unions, and the like directly electioneering.

    These groups have the ability to buy elections wholesale out of petty cash. Moneyed interests can outspend individuals and politicians alike and bury any voices who would dare take them on.

    With the possible exception of a few out-gunned groups like the NRA andthe ACLU, these groups don't give a flying flibagibbet about individual rights. Wonders what kind of priorities politicians will have when theyare routinely bought and paid for by corporations. Doubtful that self-defense -- against BGs or tyrrany -- will be high on the list.

    Our founders recognized that there was a difference between people and associations. They railed against the "mischief of factions." Up till now, the law also recognized a distinction between theelectoral rights of real individuals and fictional ones. A constitution which permits such distinctions to be drawn is the stronger.
    On the other hand, can't disagree here either.

    Didn't the SwiftBoat Vets defend their right to run their revealing ad about Kerry under the 1A?
    cheers - okboomer
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    Regular Member TFred's Avatar
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    The Donkey wrote:
    I agree with much of what you say about books. But the FEC has never attempted to ban a book: if it had, the attempt would have failed without Citizens United on the basis of a First Amendment"as applied" challenge. Book banning in this context is a straw man in search of a fire.
    Woulda, shoulda, coulda... Did you read the oral arguments?

    To quote Chief Justice Roberts: "we don't put our First Amendment rights in the hands of FEC bureaucrats"

    The FEC lawyer essentially admitted that the FEC could ban books, but the author would have a good chance of winning in court because they hadn't ever banned books before.

    To quote Scalia this time: "So you're -- you are a lawyer advising somebody who is about to come out with a book and you say don't worry, the FEC has never tried to send somebody to prison for this. This statute covers it, but don't worry, the FEC has never done it. Is that going to comfort your client? I don't think so."

    TFred


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    This is as it should be. If Brother Donk thinks that "corporate machines" or some other imaginary unstoppable juggernaut cannot be shuted down by the People, all he need do is look what the Tea Party movement and grassroots orgs like this one have done to Ubama's precious "filibuster proof" majority.

    McCain-Fiengold was just full of mischief waiting to happen. Now it's a dead letter. Cue "terpsichore": Ding, dong the witch is dead.

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    I remember seeing a John Stossle special on the McCain-Feingold act. The paperwork required under the act for a non-encumbent candidate to run for office was as long as a basketball court! literally, but the paper work for an encumbent was 1 page? Yeah, clearly a law made to benefit the little guy. Good riddance to bad rubbish.
    He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent which will reach to himself. -- Thomas Paine (1737--1809), Dissertation on First Principles of Government, 1795

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    Correct me if I am wrong, but my understanding of the decision is that it does away with the electioneering and corporate/organizational funding restrictions in McCain-Feingold, but that the challenged reporting/disclosure requirements were found to be constitutional.

    (Edited to eliminate geezerhood)

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    The Donkey wrote:
    ufcfanvt wrote:
    "Amendment 1
    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition
    the Government for a redress of grievances."

    In this case I see:
    The NRA, Phillip Morris, the ACLU, etc as a group of persons assembling and speaking with the intent to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
    Due to the TYPE of association (assembly) and the INTENT of the speech (which is specifically protected), Congress has ventured to make a law to regulate and essentially ban this activity (speech and assembly) in flagrant disregard for the 1st Amendment.

    I welcome any pathetic arguments claiming what I just said to be false.
    How much more clear could the Constitution be on this issue? Let me ask another way, what would the framers have had to say, to convince you that political groups, corporations and unions would be ALLOWED to engage in this, now protected, activity?
    Nothing stopped these groups from Petitioning for redress of grievances before. Hence the fleet of lobbyists, the industry PACs, and the "issue ads" that bombarded the airwaves during the last election cycle (and during the health care debate)urging folks to "call your Congressmen."

    What was prohibited for the last 100 years -- and successive Supreme Court rulings--but is no longer -- is corporations, unions, and the like directly electioneering.

    These groups have the ability to buy elections wholesale out of petty cash. Moneyed interests can outspend individuals and politicians alike and bury any voices who would dare take them on.

    With the possible exception of a few out-gunned groups like the NRA andthe ACLU, these groups don't give a flying flibagibbet about individual rights. Wonders what kind of priorities politicians will have when theyare routinely bought and paid for by corporations. Doubtful that self-defense -- against BGs or tyrrany -- will be high on the list.

    Our founders recognized that there was a difference between people and associations. They railed against the "mischief of factions." Up till now, the law also recognized a distinction between theelectoral rights of real individuals and fictional ones. A constitution which permits such distinctions to be drawn is the stronger.


    Jeez; seeing that most big businesses are run by conservatives, that must just have you quaking in your lefty boots? Bet you can't wait for Nov. and the elections eh?
    Bale da Hay

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    And sit in the seats within.

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    Get over it Donkey.
    The 1st Amendment won this round.
    If you don't want corporate corruption, fine, but don't stomp on the right to speak.

    Until you can refute this argument, save face and bow out:
    The NRA, Phillip Morris, the ACLU, etc as a group of persons assembling and speaking with the intent to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
    Due to the TYPE of association (assembly) and the INTENT of the speech (which is specifically protected), Congress has ventured to make a law to regulate and essentially ban this activity (speech and assembly) in flagrant disregard for the 1st Amendment.

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    Where we part company, UFCFANVT, is on the "assembling" and "petitioning". Your definition of these concepts isfar more liberal than the Courts'.Nothing in Campaign Finance law stopped anyone from assembling or petitioning for redress of grievances: you can see this from all the issue ads. It did, however, stop corporations, unions and the like from a particular form of speech, namely electioneering.

    To me, curtailing that speech was necessary to promote a compelling state interest in guaranteeing fair access to communications media, and preventing corruption of the political system. The Court used to agree, I think, with the latter proposal, but seems tohavechangedits mind.

    I am not "comfortable" with curtailing any speech. But with this development, corporations have the ability, means and every incentive to flood public fora with speech that is designedto serve their very narrow interests. These interests are not necessarily American interests.



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    The Donkey wrote:
    To me, curtailing that speech was necessary to promote a compelling state interest in guaranteeing fair access to communications media, and preventing corruption of the political system.

    I cannot agree with curtailing any speech under any circumstances. I must agree with ufcfanvtthat being against corporate corruption is all well and good but we must NOT allow the protections of the 1st amendment to weaken in our fight against corporate corruption.

    He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from opposition; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach himself. ~Thomas Paine


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    The Donkey wrote:
    I am not "comfortable" with curtailing any speech. But with this development, corporations have the ability, means and every incentive to flood public fora with speech that is designedto serve their very narrow interests. These interests are not necessarily American interests.

    Yet they still can't trump the corporations of mass media, in influencing elections and public opinion with out right deception and lies often times.
    I am not anti Cop I am just pro Citizen.

    U.S. v. Minker, 350 US 179, at page 187
    "Because of what appears to be a lawful command on the surface, many citizens, because
    of their respect for what only appears to be a law, are cunningly coerced into waiving their
    rights, due to ignorance." (Paraphrased)

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    The only electioneering that should be legal is that done by people, not corporations. Organizations set up by people for the express purpose of making their voices heard as a group shouldbe okay too.

    I call out corporations as they are a fictional entitity that gets to act like a person but is NOT a person. I don't like the idea that a megacorporation can act just as freely in the electoral process as any individual. That corporation has far deeper pockets than any one person. Makes for an easy way to silence your critics or at least drown them out with your money buying up all the advertising time.

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    The Donkey wrote:
    ...But with this development, corporations have the ability, means and every incentive to flood public fora with speech that is designedto serve their very narrow interests. These interests are not necessarily American interests.
    Then they share a common basis with Obamas presidency.

    So long as all parties are American, they are indeed "American Interests". So long as Americans can reasonably think for themselves, no matter of false or focused campaigning should be an issue anyways. Personal accountability is paramount to the success of our form of Government. You don't spend $500 on knock-off Rolex watches because the guy gave a great sales pitch, do you? If so, I see the problem.

    Let's all jump on the bandwagon and join others in being individually responsible, and accountable Americans. Less government, more freedom. I heard that somewhere once...

    Oh yeah, although I do understand how politicking could be bad in a country where people should not ever feel even slightly inclined to vote for any purpose other than their individual choice, it's not like our country or government has a giant "reset switch" should we the people even accidentally make a incorrect decision..

    Oh wait we do! It's called the 2nd Amendment....

    :celebrate
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    Personal responsibility is a facade created by religious people in particular...
    On "Personal Responsibility just after the previous, in the same exact thread.
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    The wheels on the bus go round and round...round and round.

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    Parabellum wrote:
    The Donkey wrote:
    To me, curtailing that speech was necessary to promote a compelling state interest in guaranteeing fair access to communications media, and preventing corruption of the political system.

    I cannot agree with curtailing any speech under any circumstances. I must agree with ufcfanvtthat being against corporate corruption is all well and good but we must NOT allow the protections of the 1st amendment to weaken in our fight against corporate corruption.

    He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from opposition; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach himself. ~Thomas Paine
    Be a little careful about "not curtailing under any circumstances." Do not curtail speech in any public (redress of gov'nt, etc) circumstances, yes but certain private circumstances (e.g. a privately funded speaker event) the organizers have the right as the private party who paid the bills to decide the content -- speech if you will -- of the event.

    Though I think that's what you mean, I recently read an interesting perspective about that in reference to a couple of "free speech" incidents at privately funded speaker events.

    More on topic: This is a good thing. It really boils down to "We're either equal (in opportunity) or we aren't." (just remember that Equal Opportunity != Equal Outcome).

    The highest bidder will have their voice heard on the broadcasts -- last I knew, broadcasters are in the private sector and in the business of making a profit...
    That's capitalism for ya. You have a different message? Find an alternative method of communication, or convince enough people who share your opinions to chip in.

    Edited for grammar

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    So we've heard no arguments refuting that:
    Corp's and Unions are assemblies of individuals that a) have a right to exist, and b) have a right to speak freely to defend themselves and their purpose. This should include petitioning the populace for votes in order to redress grievances.

    No, simply claiming that either of these are false, or that "I don't FEEL it should be this way..." does little to further your point.
    That which can be claimed without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.

    So to move this discussion along
    , my impression was that corporations and unions had our government in their pockets before this Supreme Court decision.
    Don't you all know when something simply isn't working?
    Faced with such a circumstance, shouldn't we try a different approach? Preferably demanding that our citizenry become informed and educated instead of continually b!$&hing about what stupid sheep they are and how the big bad wolves are taking advantage and culling the herd? :P

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    ufcfanvt wrote:
    So we've heard no arguments refuting that:
    Corp's and Unions are assemblies of individuals that a) have a right to exist, and b) have a right to speak freely to defend themselves and their purpose. This should include petitioning the populace for votes in order to redress grievances.

    No, simply claiming that either of these are false, or that "I don't FEEL it should be this way..." does little to further your point.
    That which can be claimed without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.

    So to move this discussion along
    , my impression was that corporations and unions had our government in their pockets before this Supreme Court decision.
    Don't you all know when something simply isn't working?
    Faced with such a circumstance, shouldn't we try a different approach? Preferably demanding that our citizenry become informed and educated instead of continually b!$&hing about what stupid sheep they are and how the big bad wolves are taking advantage and culling the herd? :P
    Yes, yes, and yes.

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    Let's be clear about the effect of this law.

    I can't afford to produce and air TV ads criticizing a candidate for his opposition to gun rights. But I can afford membership in the NRA. The NRA collects enough pooled money to do what I can't do, but this law made it a felony to run these ads within so many days prior to an election. That effectively shut me up.

    However, there was no such restriction on news corporations. So they had a political voice, and I didn't. So we had a federal law that permitted some entities to speak about a particular political topic, but denied that right to others to speak on precisely the same topic.

    That is quintessentially a violation of the 1A.



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    Lurchiron wrote:
    ...most big businesses are run by conservatives...
    Penalty flag... factually incorrect rhetoric.

    There is no room for crony capitalism under a truly "conservative" umbrella.

    Well, unless by "conservative" you mean "neoconservative".

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    Campaign Veteran marshaul's Avatar
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    darthmord wrote:
    The only electioneering that should be legal is that done by people, not corporations. Organizations set up by people for the express purpose of making their voices heard as a group should*be okay too.

    I call out corporations as they are a fictional entitity that gets to act like a person but is NOT a person. I don't like the idea that a megacorporation can act just as freely in the electoral process as any individual. That corporation has far deeper pockets than any one person. Makes for an easy way to silence your critics or at least drown them out with your money buying up all the advertising time.
    Exactly. A corporation is a fictitious entity deriving privilege against right through the use of state coercion. It is an immoral, unethical entity with no claim to "right" whatsoever.

    Far from having a claim to the right of speech, the corporation ought to be forcibly dissolved and its property redistributed to appropriate parties (shareholders or, in the case of corporations highly subsidized with stolen funds and/or favored with unethical regulations used against competitors, to the citizenry whose appropriated money and/or legislative authority was usurped in the first place).

    Groups of people deserve the right to assemble, petition, speak, whatever. A corporation is anything but a mere "congregation of people".

    It is not "conservative" to believe otherwise.

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