Tuesday, June 26, 2012

'Citizens United' Ruling May Be Much Worse Than Strikedown Of 'Obamacare'

By Manifesto Joe

Yesterday the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 to reject Montana's case challenging Citizens United. This could actually be a death knell for democracy in America, and something much worse than a high court strikedown of "Obamacare," which could come Thursday.

Tossing the health care law could actually work in the Democratic Party's favor, and even result in some kind of single-payer system in the foreseeable future. Well, I'll amend that to say that it could have had that effect. Since the "justices" essentially ruled yesterday that government entities can be bought by the highest bidder, even the broad public outrage that will inevitably result from a strikedown on Thursday will run up against an iron wall of corporate money.

In America, we can kiss democracy goodbye, at least for the foreseeable future. It's a plutocracy now, and there's no doubt.

I always thought things were going to have to get worse here before they can get better. Now, we're going to see them get a LOT worse, and it will probably be a generation or two before anything can really be done about it.

We saw with the Equal Rights Amendment how a very determined and well-funded minority can thwart the will of a solid majority in this country. It takes a two-thirds vote of both houses of Congress to send a proposed constitutional amendment to state legislatures, and then three-fourths of the legislatures have to approve the amendment for it to become law. The Equal Rights Amendment looked like a no-brainer for a while. But it was stalled, and eventually "lost."

If the same 5-4 right-wing majority of justices votes to overturn "Obamacare" on Thursday, it would probably take a constitutional amendment to establish something to the effect of Medicare-E (Medicare for everybody).

Now, with yesterday's decision, we might as well sit back and wait for the next glacier to move through. I had high hopes for single-payer just a couple of years ago, but the corporate money will likely be too much for any groundswell in this country to defeat. Now my generation will not see single-payer, of that I'm all but certain.

Problem is, a constitutional amendment for reasonable campaign finance reform in the U.S. will have to be enacted first. Health care would have to follow, and it's going to take an enormous groundswell of public will to get rid of Citizens United first.

I'll be 56 next month, and so this probably guarantees that I'm going to be writing a blog for the losing side of American politics for the rest of my days. That takes a lot of the joy out of it. But many of us will carry on -- I've got nothing better to do with my spare time. Just get ready for at least 20 more years of The New Gilded Age.

Manifesto Joe Is An Underground Writer Living In Texas.


Anonymous said...

I believe the most damaging Supreme Court decision ever was Bush v. Gore. Had it not been for that blatantly partisan decision, Al Gore would have been president.
As a result, the U.S. would not have withdrawn from the Kyoto treaty and it would have taken stronger action on Global Warming.
Instead, little action has been taken. A growing number of scientists are now saying that, no matter what we do now, it's too late to avert a major worldwide disaster.
The U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says we're in for catastrophic climate change which will expose millions to flooding, drought, hunger and other woes.
If Bush v. Gore hadn't happened, there's a good choice we could have avoided a lot of this.

Manifesto Joe said...

If it wasn't too late already, it's definitely too late now. Unless climate change turns out to be the mass hoax that the right wing claims it is -- and I seriously doubt that -- catastrophes of many kinds are probably at hand. And with Citizens United as essentially the law of the nation, corporate money will have the power to stall any meaningful action for a generation or more. That will bring more desperation, but it will take many years to even begin to counter the trends. I'm glad I'm not leaving any kids to be alive around 2050.

Old Scout said...

The Planet is more resilient than you give it credit for being. That doesn't excuse the human effluent that exacerbates cyclical changes in the Earth's magnetism or climate. Now before you treat me like a trampoline ... the Planet should be cooling now as it's orbit is slightly bumped out causing moderation of Summer, late Vernal or early Autumnal temps. But instead of this moderation ... we have caustic shifts of the surface climate, not the isolated weather systems that make up climate, but the continued enhancement of counter-cyclical climatological anomalies that support extended warming are prevaling over the bumped out orbit.
Human activity has generated excessive amounts of atmosphric carbon that has warmed the atmosphere by warming the Sun's rays through friction with the carbon particles.

Manifesto Joe said...

In my job I just read last night that the CEO of ExxonMobil said in a speech in Dallas that fears of climate change are greatly overblown, that whatever global warming does occur is something that humans are capable of adapting to, and so forth. Of course, the majority of climate scientists don't agree with him. I hope he turns out to be right, for the sake of future human generations, and our partner animals, too. But something tells me that he's mainly concerned about the millions he's making, and with delivering continued high profit margins to the stockholders, and with keeping his and his friends' taxes low, or even nonexistent. When you've got this many climate scientists warning about what we've got at hand, if we must err, I'd say it makes a bit more sense to err on the side of caution.

Anonymous said...

))Of course, the majority of
))climate scientists don't agree
))with him

I'd just be curious to know: what legitimate climate scientist disputes global warming? Is there anyone?
I've talked to right-wingers about this and they assure me that there are indeed climate scientists who dispute global warming. But to my knowledge, they haven't produced a single valid name.
People like Sen. Jim Inhofe have produced lists of "experts" over the years. But it turns out his list was riddled with flaws. In fact, a number of scientists that he listed were unaware they were on his list and they said their views had been misrepresented and they demanded to be removed from the list.
Bill Maher once said it best: "one of the right wing's biggest victories has been to create the popular impression that there is still a scientific debate taking place on global warming."