Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Rant — Crime Reduction for the One Percent: Make Bribery Legal

In the Citizens United Decision, The U.S. Supreme Court somehow came to he conclusion that corporations are people AND money is speech.  To put limits on corporate donations to political candidate is to therefore limit free speech.

It is apparent now — if the Supreme Court’s decision on Citizens United didn't clue you in before – that bribing government officials is quite all right. The U.S. Supreme Court said so, and has just said so, again. There is no intellectual or common sense argument that justifies these decisions.

Here is what The New York Times had to say then.

It’s that tortured logic that led to the conclusion that money is speech.  We’ve known this for a long time.  Except it used to be said in a less constitutional way that “money talks.” And while practiced widely, it was illegal.  But now that it’s “speech,” bribery is legal.  So if you are the P.R. czar for a big company or an organization that wants to sell guns or pills or food or without regulation you can pay congressional representatives to pass laws to help you succeed.

George W. Bush And Pro-Bribery Justice Alito
I don’t know about you, but my twenty bucks isn’t going to buy much influence; whereas the NRA can buy off congress who might otherwise regulate the sale of military assault weapons to the public; whereas big food corporations can pay off reps to prevent full and honest product labeling; whereas Nestle can continue to use public land for free to sell your water back to you.

If we were naive enough to believe that Citizens (money is speech) United was a one-off, here’s a case (taken from a story by Jon Schwarz at Intercept) that shows this is the direction of the ultra-right leaning Supreme Court, who like their Republican friends believe it’s only fair the rich get richer – no doubt because they are so kind to  the rest of us.

Former Virginia Governor Bob  McDonnell

“In the McDonnell case, it was proven that Jonnie Williams, the CEO of a dietary supplement company, gave McDonnell an engraved Rolex watch, took McDonnell’s wife Maureen on a $20,000 shopping spree at Louis Vuitton and Oscar de le Renta in New York, loaned the couple over $100,000, and much more. In return, McDonnell set up meetings for Williams with Virginia officials that Williams used to push for the state to fund studies on the effectiveness of his supplements, pestered his staff about it, let Williams throw a product launch lunch at the governor’s mansion, and allowed Williams to add himself and associates to the guest list for a reception for state healthcare leaders. Williams himself testified that the gifts he gave the McDonnells were ‘a business transaction.’”

Yet the U.S. Supreme Court threw out the conviction. The Justices, as well as many of McDonnell’s friends and associates, believe that he simply did what friends do for friends.  We’d like to think that when a judge gets to the Supreme Court, the highest court in the land, the last chance for justice, you really try to find your higher self.

The Supreme Court is determined to make bribery not only legal but also an enforced right, therefore an integral part of U.S society.

Young Justice Alito is one of the prime players in this mess. I’m not sure he’s bright enough to figure he is largely responsible for legalizing pay-offs.  He actually denies it. He should brush up on his Shakespeare: A rose by any other name….”

Meanwhile, this far right George W. appointee will be around awhile. And if the next president provides him with some allies on the bench we will have a even smaller voice in our government for years to come — unless of course you, like Trump, have a few million tucked away for such incidentals as bribing senators.


scottocs said...

Per the NY Times editorial: well said then and just as relevant now. Though this court has redeemed itself on occasion, it is easy to remember the damage it has caused. The only redemption in the current "silly season" is that the Republican nominee continues to soil himself on a regular basis. Hopefully he'll continue to do so, negating the corporate spend.

Ronald Tierney said...

Agreed. kThanks for commenting.