January 18, 2012

Those people who think Citizens United was wrong because it saw corporations as people with free speech rights...

... what do they think about Google's stand against SOPA? Google is a big old corporation with way too much money and power....

65 comments:

DADvocate said...

I don't, and didn't, think Citizen's United was wrong. Naturally, I welcome Google's actions, and Wikipedia and all the others.

damikesc said...

I have yet to find an opponent of Citizens United who has a clue what the case was about.

EMD said...

Citizens United = right
SOPA = wrong

There. I'm being ideologically consistent.

AJ Lynch said...

Good luck if think a librul can use logical reasoning.

gadfly said...

The Citizens United decision was the only action that could be taken to fairly balance the rights already granted to unions. Money and politics will always be intermixed but McCain-Feingold unbalanced the scales of justice until this decision.

Sole proprietors can make a decision to open for business or not, so it follows that corporate-owned businesses have that same right -- and there is no reason required for the shutdown.

Free speech rights my ass! This is not a 1st Amendment issue. Does anyone think that a single Google employee lost pay today?

pbAndjFellowRepublican said...

Those people who didn't think CU was wrong...why, constitutionally speaking, can't super-pack contributors spend their money as they please w/o the gov forcing disclosure of their identity? And, why can't they coordinate w/ candidates? Or, is it okay to have such limits on speech because the constitution allows us to selectively put restraints on......

damikesc said...

We clearly need to restrict the rights of corporations. Nobody agrees with Google etc over their protest...

Ann Althouse said...

Volokh is suggesting, I think, and I would certainly suggest that this question shows why Citizens United was correctly decided.

damikesc said...

Those people who didn't think CU was wrong...why, constitutionally speaking, can't super-pack contributors spend their money as they please w/o the gov forcing disclosure of their identity? And, why can't they coordinate w/ candidates? Or, is it okay to have such limits on speech because the constitution allows us to selectively put restraints on......

Why should it be illegal? Let it be a campaign issue --- but if you're not going to overturn an election result over it, then making it illegal is absolutely pointless.

がんこもん said...

gadfly: Good point. I would suggest that those who were so vocal against Citizens' United prefer conveniently to forget that unions have enjoyed far more rights (and have engaged in far more thuggish behavior as well) than corporations for years. Don't forget the anti-trust exemption given to unions - one that no corporation (except for Major League baseball of course) - similarly enjoys. And if the anti-CU folks don't think corporations should have a voice, then how exactly do they rationalize those sorts of rights for unions?

pbAndjFellowRepublican said...

" this question shows why Citizens United was correctly decided."

If you agree that CU was correct, then you agree w/ the limitations it places on contributors, as I noted in my own questions. So agreeing w/ CU (and other campaign finance restrictions that have eluded SC reversal) necessitates agreeing that some limits on political speech are constitutional. At that point the door is wide open. You can't seriously suggest that we're talking about an all or nothing proposition because your own opinion is not an "all" position.

In other words you can be against CU, and you can be against having the gov forcibly keep internet sites open sans a link related to a particular piece of legislation.

Even CU supporters are supporting restrictions on speech. It is silly to claim that the only choice is CU, or everything under the sun will be illegal.

Duh.

Seven Machos said...

PBJ -- There should be no constraints on political speech. None. Agreeing with Citizens United doesn't mean agreeing with everything it says.

There's no need to be more of a tool than you are by your very existence. It's unbecoming.

Chip Ahoy said...

But then you have a full-ass grown man asking, "Do you think corporations people?"

edutcher said...

When last I looked, corporations were made up of people.

Of course, Lefty trolls dehumanize anything they don't like.

pbAndjFellowRepublican said...

"There should be no constraints on political speech. None. "

Is it, in your opinion, constitutionally protected for a corporation or person (I know, it's redundant) to, w/o any public disclosure or acknowledgement, give ten million dollars to the political campaigns of a few pols who can slip a windfall deal into the right legislation, such that nobody much notices?

Maguro said...

I don't see how supporting disclosure requirements is inconsistent with supporting free speech. Help me out here, pbandj. Where's the disconnect?

pbAndjFellowRepublican said...

Maguro,

Do you need to send disclosure forms to the gov when you buy a pack of gum?

Where in the constitution does it say that the gov can force the public disclosure of your spending on a super-pack?

Seven Machos said...

PBJ -- I have no problem with that.

Is it, in your opinion, constitutionally protected for every person, man or woman, to, without any public disclosure or acknowledgement, abort every baby, such that human society ceases to exist?

Bear in mind that my story is at least as likely as yours, so you must answer the question. It's only fair. Pointless, like your banter here, such as it is, but fair.

Dose of Sanity said...

Professor:

If you examine this solely from google's stance (and theirs is a very weak one compared to reddit, wikipedia and even craigslist).

However, SOPA was entirely written and sponsored by big business, like the RIAA and the motion picture industry.

I'm sure we can agree that google has a right to defend its very likelihood, but I'm not certain we can citizens united was correctly decided because they get a level playing field with other big business.

As a sidenote, Althouse.blogspot.com would most definitely have been killed in the first version of this bill. Directly, for posting links to cites which help infringe on copywrited materials (ya...think about youtube) and indirectly for being a .blogspot site, which is certainly helping people violate intellectual property rights.

SOPA was written by people who don't understand the internet. What's the problem with specific enforcement under the DMCA?

What's to prevent abuse of foreign webpages?

It's bad, bad bad. /rant

Dose of Sanity said...

Wow, errors. Oops!

*livelihood

*If we examine from solely google's stance, we might agree with you

michaele said...

Off topic but I've often wondered with some amusement how the liberals of Google and others in the tech world would like to be demonized for their profits the way the oil companies are.

pbAndjFellowRepublican said...

Seven,

I'm opposed to your hypo. As a lib, I'm only for killing jobs and corporations (but, lib corporate homicide is not the good kind, i.e. it's uncreative destruction).

BTW, I'm sure you realize that pols can be bought (ask McCain). Disclosure and so-called sunlight is a great disinfectant against corruption and influence peddling, imho.

Seven Machos said...

Dose -- I stand with you against SOPA and PIPA, completely. But your hyperbole is unwarranted.

The biggest problem with the ideas behind this law is that they create terrible uncertainty, because they are simply bad, poorly conceived law. It's not that the people behind the laws don't understand the internet. It's that they don't understand how law and society work.

Scott M said...

Off topic but I've often wondered with some amusement how the liberals of Google and others in the tech world would like to be demonized for their profits the way the oil companies are.

Or for their power consumption. "Carbon offsets" don't count.

Ken said...

Does anyone think that a single Google employee lost pay today?

Every dollar that a company spends on something other than salary and benefits is a dollar that cannot be spent on salary and benefits, so the answer to your question is of course google employees get paid less the more google spends on other things. Saying no one at google will see a decrease in pay is myopic because certainly any pay increases will be smaller than if they hadn't spent that money on other things.

Seven Machos said...

PBJ -- I agree about sunlight and disinfectant and all that. But Citizens United wasn't about that. So quit your whining.

Ken said...

Those people who didn't think CU was wrong...why, constitutionally speaking, can't super-pack contributors spend their money as they please w/o the gov forcing disclosure of their identity? And, why can't they coordinate w/ candidates?

I guess it never occurred to you that those who think "CU" was correctly decided thinks that all government intrusion into the activities your describing are also wrong and would support a SCOTUS decision declaring those other things you mention as being unconstitutional. The first amendment is very clear saying congress shall make no law.

Or did your head just explode at the idea of being consistent?

garage mahal said...

BTW, I'm sure you realize that pols can be bought (ask McCain)

So why can't a politician buy a voter? That's free speech right? I'll give you $100 to vote for me. Or whatever the market is at. Cuts out the middlemen.

Ken said...

BTW, I'm sure you realize that pols can be bought (ask McCain).

Why not ask Obama? He's received more money from Wall Street than any other politician in history.

Rusty said...

BTW, I'm sure you realize that pols can be bought (ask McCain)

So why can't a politician buy a voter? That's free speech right? I'll give you $100 to vote for me. Or whatever the market is at. Cuts out the middlemen.



Ah. That certainly explains all those signatures.

Hunter said...

Frankly, I don't give a damn whether liberals who oppose SOPA are being consistent or not. We need all the help we can get to defeat this piece-of-**** legislation.

Why any conservatives are supporting it still baffles me. It's almost as if they want to validate the stereotype that Republicans support big business.

Seven Machos said...

Hunter -- There was a guy on Althouse -- a one-threader, I think -- defending these bills vociferously from a conservative point of view. The best I could understand, he had some kind of Randian view of property rights. But he denied that, and I may be insulting Randians.

It was pretty baffling.

I agree that we all at Althouse should be having a big circle jerk of agreement with each other about these bills. But PBJ will have to eat the cracker. That's a given.

pbAndjFellowRepublican said...

Seven,

So, do you believe that the constitution allows the gov to require the disclosure of folks who contribute to super-packs?

And, do you believe that the constitution allows to gov to ban coordination between candidates and super-packs?

You seem to disagree w/ both restrictions that the SC hasn't struck down. So, presumably your support for sunlight is not support for laws requiring such. Presumably, you'd like to see these disclosures as voluntary actions. Perhaps we could also make tax payments voluntary. Sounds like a great plan!

Seven Machos said...

PBJ -- You continue to speak spasmodically and stupidly about issues that the Supreme Court case commonly referred to as Citizens United simply does not address. I'm sorry you cannot understand that. You should ask yourself why you are unable to be remotely germane.

AJ Lynch said...

To those who disagree with Citizens United- are you OK with newspapers and TV networks [owned by corporations] having a loud voice on political issues.

Snark said...

Just wanted to say that this why I follow Althouse. She brings me one way or another to these delicious little challenges to the left leaning brain. Doesn't make me any less left, but it sure makes me smarter.

AJ Lynch said...

No matter what you think of him, PB&J is still the greatest name for a commenter!

pbAndjFellowRepublican said...

Seven,

CU didn't address whether or not Google could put a link to a petition that is related to a particular piece of legislation either.




The circle is complete.

pbAndjFellowRepublican said...

"No matter what you think of him, PB&J is still the greatest name for a commenter!"


It used to be used as an insult, when I used my real initials.

It'd be like garage changing his name to garbage.

Hunter said...

Seven-
I think you're right that some conservatives let themselves get snookered by the term "intellectual property". Which is exactly why the proponents of ultra-strong copyright protection are so fond of the term.

But while ownership of tangible property is a natural right, ownership of "intellectual property" is entirely a creation of government. It is no more natural than a beet-farmers ownership of his crop allowance.

Seven Machos said...

PBJ -- You don't understand Citizens United, nor have you read it. You don't understand the issues involved in these bills.

You are shallow and sad. This is why you bring up things that don't have anything to do with anything. You have no focus.

Ken said...

So why can't a politician buy a voter?

Ha! This is hilarious! Politicians buy voters all the time. The means to buy these voters are called social security, medicare and medicaid, welfare, Obamacare, etc.

traditionalguy said...

There is a scene in The Aviator where Howard Hughes is being destroyed by a Senator owned by his Pan Am competitor for an overseas routes monopoly

It did not scare the feisty Howard Hughes, because it was on live TV in the early days of TV and Hughes got to respond wit attacks on tyhe Senator's corruption.

The Senator expected no response to his hatchet job on Hughes. And a response is the sole issue in CU and in SOPA : can one side buy up/own the airtime and only their run their "story lines" running?

Fox News makes about a one third of a response to the biggest Obama Gang's pravda apparatus on the other TV networks, and they draw the most viewers.

Meanwhile poor Comrade Obama is whining about how much easier it is to rule in Red China.

Dose of Sanity said...

@ Seven

The bills originally changing of the DNS structure (like China does) indicates to me they had no idea what they were asking for.

I'd agree they ALSO have no idea about law and society too.

I'm surprised it is still alive, to be honest. The things money can buy!

(p.s. I can't help but think of the things they wanted when they went after Napster. You'd think they'd learn)

p.s. It wasn't hyperbole under the original version of the bill. Check it out - it was awful.

Jay said...

Do you need to send disclosure forms to the gov when you buy a pack of gum?

Hysterical.

I love the fact that you think that is an analogy.

Fr Martin Fox said...

PB&J:

Seems like you're trying to bait the "absolutists" to see if they really mean it.

Even so, it is possible to favor the outcome in Citizens United without being a First Amendment absolutist--but, what the heck, I'll play along.

Were I a jurist, I might well be able to defend the constitutionality of disclosure requirements; but let's close that out as well.

If it comes right down to it, the question becomes, which remedy do I prefer to the problem of money actually being used to "buy" a politician?

One remedy is the whole train of campaign-reform proposals. They all involve government restricting what people can do.

How about this solution: how about restricting what government can do?

The reason folks are prepared to spend big money buying influence with a politician is because of the great power he can wield with his vote. Reduce that power--reduce the scope of what government can do--and you reduce the value of the product.

Second, let's consider what happens when there is no disclosure requirement? Does that mean pols will never disclose?

Let's see--just like pols never disclose their taxes, which they aren't required to...Oops, bad example.

In the absence of a full-disclosure law, there would still be pressure for pols to disclose; and they could be asked to sign an affidavit that the disclosure is complete. If they refuse...voters can draw their own conclusions.

But all this misunderstands the real factors at work. Paying politicians money (or other tangible goodies) to get votes isn't the major problem. Oh, it happens and it's bad; but if only we had more of that: we'd have a better--and safer--class of crooks.

No, the real problem is that politicians use tax money to bribe voters to become clients. To my mind, that is a far more pernicious form of corruption, because it corrupts the very means by which we would peacefully end it. But this is a case of a politician being seduced, not by campaign contributions, but by the prospect of votes that give him power.

The sort of corruption you describe has happened often enough, and it eventually comes to light. If a politician is bribed into building, say, a road that fails miserably in providing for public needs, or in some other way loots the treasury for someone's private gain, that will become public soon enough. And the voters can fix that problem.

Then, of course, there is the notion some have that an election can be bought by simply pouring enough money into it. Money helps; but it didn't work for Perot or Forbes, to name two.

So...bottom line: if being consistent on the Constitution means striking down disclosure laws...(shrug).

Jose_K said...

He brought this civil libel action against the four individual petitioners, who are Negroes and Alabama clergymen, and against petitioner the New York Times Company, a New York corporation which publishes the New York Times, a daily newspaper.As to the Times, we similarly conclude that the facts do not support a finding of actual malice
So Sullivan vs NYT was wrong?
Liberals suport the use of foreign law as model:
German Constitution:

Article 19 [Restriction of basic rights]
...

(3) The basic rights shall also apply to domestic artificial persons to the extent that the nature of such rights permits.

pbAndjFellowRepublican said...

Fr FM,

So, you'd not be too worried about eliminating all campaign financing rules including disclosure of contributors.

You believe that everything would work out as long as we restricted what gov can do. How about getting rid of drug prohibition, a non-commodity backed fed, the income tax, most overseas military spending, and bans on prostitution.

Could there be a candidate who is actually in favor of scaling down the gov so as to seriously limit its power? "Endorse Liberty"

pbAndjFellowRepublican said...

MF not FM

Jose_K said...

"Do you think corporations people?"
Neither human being nor corporations are juridical people only their conducts.
A corpporation like a natural person is only the center of imputation of conducts. Kelsen

Michael Haz said...

Google admits that on a daily basis it uses enough electricity to power 200,000 homes. The US Census reports that there are 216.000 homes ind Dane County, WI.

How can environmentalists even justify Google's existence?

Quaestor said...

supergarage mahal wrote:
So why can't a politician buy a voter? That's free speech right? I'll give you $100 to vote for me. Or whatever the market is at. Cuts out the middlemen.

What makes you think this isn't already common practice? A least a few people who supported Obama in 2008 did so in the belief (mistaken or not) that by putting Obama in power they would accrue tangible fiduciary benefits. i.e. get paid for voting Democrat.

wv: fackeri - There's a lot of intellectual fackeri going on over at MSNBC these days.

Fr Martin Fox said...

PB&J:

Please attend to what I said.

If the price of fidelity to the Constitution was dispensing with the various campaign regulations you cited...then, in that event, I will choose fidelity to the Constitution over those regulations.

You betcha. Without looking back.

Whether fidelity to the Constitution requires that...is a question for a jurist, which I am not.

As far as the other matters you cited...that is a horse of a different color.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Oh, and if you're asking if I am for Ron Paul, the answer is yes. I don't agree with him on everything; but I take him to think that the main threat to our liberty is not overseas and I agree; and I think he is the best choice to confront that threat.

Blue@9 said...

pbandj, you seem to be confusing some things. IIR, Citizens United was about the right of corporations to spend money on political speech. That's not the same thing as political donations, which are still regulated.

And we should be able to put restrictions on candidates and political campaigns, right? Running for office is voluntary so it shouldn't be onerous to comply with some rules geared toward fairness.

On the other hand, a corporation or labor union or newspaper isn't running for gov't office. Accordingly, these orgs' ability to speak out on political issues or elections shouldn't be restricted.

I suppose you're worried about collusion between campaigns and monied interests, but how would it be any different without Citizens United. You think newspapers don't make endorsements and give free, favorable publicity to its chosen? Labor unions?

(And to be honest, I don't necessarily think there should be contribution limits either. It's not a constitutional issue like citizens united, but I think it's largely pointless to limit contributions. What does more money do? All the money in the world can't buy an election because it's still people who have to vote. Would Obama be any more likely to win re-election if he raised $2 billion this year? What would he do with it, buy every commercial spot nationwide for weeks? Gold-plate his bus?)

EMD said...

What the short-sighted Hollywood/MPAA/RIAA people don't realize is that limited piracy actually may be good for their products. More exposure translates into more sales.

Shared networks like YouTube and Facebook reach more people more cheaply than any marketing or advertising venture.

A Hollywood bereft of ideas fails to realize that co-opting the streaming game directly from other distributors would greatly enhance the total revenues for their products. Why bother with Netflix when Sony or Fox could afford rather easily their own first-run streaming services?

The problem is they are going to ask an ownership price ($20-$25) for viewing instead of a rental fee ($2-$5) which results in less volume for less products.

For example, the film Big Miracle is set to be released to theaters. I think it will make a limited amount of money given the subject matter, genre, and marketing budget associated. Why not stream it simultaneously for a traditional ticket price or less? Why not complement theater sales with online sales? (Aside from pissing off traditional distributors)

People who enjoy the theater experience will still get to enjoy the theater without cannibalizing those who don't.

Sorry to get off-topic there.

Revenant said...

Good luck if think a librul can use logical reasoning.

The ACLU supported the Citizens United decision and filed an amicus brief on behalf of the plaintifs. They're pretty liberal, last I checked.

Writ Small said...

I'm all for Citizen's United, and I have no issue with Google and others speaking their minds, but what is is about SOPA that makes it so clearly wrong?

I haven't looked deeply into it, but doesn't it protect intellectual property rights and punish pirates? What is the bad thing we expect to happen if it's enacted?

Ironically, the WSJ had a defense of the law in their op/ed session, but it was behind the pay wall.

X said...

So why can't a politician buy a voter?

It's not that hard. The real mystery is how the democrat party managed to buy a private sector free enterprise non public sector union member entrepreneur such as yourself.

Bruce Hayden said...

So why can't a politician buy a voter?

They do so all the time - but do it with our own money, and not theirs. And, hence, a trillion dollar deficit.

Frankly, right now, I would prefer them to use their own money, if that would prevent them from using ours.

Sofa King said...

I haven't looked deeply into it, but doesn't it protect intellectual property rights and punish pirates? What is the bad thing we expect to happen if it's enacted?


The main problem is that it permits injunctions against ISP's and payment providers on nothing more than the say-so of a copyright holder.

Bruce Hayden said...

I think that the fact that Chris Dodd is now the head of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) illustrates why Citizens United is important. Yes, this is the same Dodd who helped Countrywide, in trade for below market home loans, who helped ramp up the subprime lending at Fannie and Freddie that fueled the bubble that when popped caused the financial meltdown, and helped protect them along the way from reform. And, the same Dodd, that, again with Barney Frank, rewrote the financial regulations to penalize the smaller banks that didn't cause the problems, exempting the biggest ones, who did.

So, why did the MPAA hire Dodd? Because he has close personal relations with a lot of the Senators with whom he worked for so many years, and he could help punch this legislation through the Senate where he worked for so many years.

While the RIAA, MPAA, et al. aren't putting as much money into this as the big tech companies did to ram through patent reform last year, they are still paying tens of millions of dollars for lobbying, and the hiring of former Sen. Dodd to run one of these organizations is just one example of this money being spent.

So, Google, et al. are engaging in openly free speech in this area. On the other hand, you have a lot of money being spent on K Street for lobbying. An awful lot of money.

I would suggest that those who oppose Citizens United either prefer that companies hide their advocating through their lobbyists, or are unaware that hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars are being spent every year on lobbying, almost all by corporations of one type or another (though the corporation may be a union, a non-profit, etc.) That money is being spent by corporations, and not by individuals.

And, it is being spent with almost no transparency. A lot less transparency than what went on yesterday around the country by those who opposed the legislation.

Bruce Hayden said...

I don't know how many others here notice that the primary congressional supporters of this legislation seemed to be unphased yesterday in their pronouncements about the legislation, despite the mass protest occurring on the Internet. I received several things that had been sent out by Sen. Leahy and Rep. Smith, including, from the later, a link to a site that supposedly refuted a bunch of the myths being pushed by the opponents of the legislation. As one pundit (I believe it was Instapundit) opined - Rep. Lamar Smith stays bought.

Are the interests pushing the legislation running scared right now? They don't appear to be, but that could just be appearances. We shall see. A lot of money behind the legislation, and they know that the game isn't over until the fat lady sings.

Bruce Hayden said...

I haven't looked deeply into it, but doesn't it protect intellectual property rights and punish pirates? What is the bad thing we expect to happen if it's enacted?

If that were all that it did, then it might not be so odorous. But, it isn't, and it isn't being done with due process.

As a previous poster noted, it isn't the pirates that would be harmed, but rather the legitimate companies like Google, etc.

Keep in mind that the actual pirates have hundreds, if not thousands, of domain names and IP addresses in reserve, and can switch to others at very short notice - hours, if not minutes. Far, far faster than the content owners can react through this legislation.

Part of the reason that the legislation is so bad, it that it is using a sledge hammer to address an issue that would better be addressed using a scalpel, and the proponents are doing so to further their own monetary interests, with apparently no regard to the financial, etc. harm they are doing to the rest of the country. Which is why they have to operate in the back halls of Congress, and cannot really pursue this legislation openly, as their opponents can.

A lot of Congressional supporters appear to now be seeing the light, withdrawing support for Leahy's and Smith's legislation, and throwing it behind competing legislation by Rep. Issa, which goes after the pirate problem using financial means. Rep. Smith seems apoplectic about this, but wasn't able to articulate anything yesterday in response other than that Issa's solution wouldn't work, but his would. And, we are supposed to apparently trust his judgment there - though it seems to have been a bit impaired of late through all the lobbying efforts that he has been the recipient of.

Think about it though - the content owners have two different problems. One is people paying someone else for their content, and the other being people taking the content for free. The former problem can be mostly solved by cutting off credit card payments to those supplying the content. And, the other involves people who aren't going to pay, regardless, and, thus, are no real financial loss to the content owners.

Bruce Hayden said...

The other thing that must be remembered about free speech for corporations, is that without it, some are created more equal than others. I am talking, in particular, about General Electric, which was able to trade fawning support of President Obama by its NBC/PMSNBC unit for a lot of juicy benefits from the federal government being run by that very same President Obama. That includes TARP funds, along with a lot of "Green" technology contracts - all from a company that has billions in profits, almost none of which end up as taxes collected by our government (my memory is that their effective federal tax rate was in the low single digits).

So, why should some companies, like GE, be effectively exempt from any limitations on corporate speech, because they have their own MSM outlets?