"He's a snake in the grass, I tell ya guys; he may look dumb but that's just a disguise; he's a mastermind in the ways of espionage." Charlie Daniels, "Uneasy Rider" WSJ: another stupid MSM #CorpSpeak organ, uninterested in Constitution and an agent for expanding our oppressive, corrupt & broken federal government - TT's Lost in Tokyo

WSJ: another stupid MSM #CorpSpeak organ, uninterested in Constitution and an agent for expanding our oppressive, corrupt & broken federal government

[Here's the title I preferred but was apparently too long. Dang. "WSJ reveals itself as another stupid MSM #CorpSpeak organ, uninterested in Constitutional or representative government, and perversely, as an ally with Dems in engendering a oppressive, arbitrary, corrupt & broken federal government"]

I'm referring to the remarkably thick-headed, crudely pro-corporate and anti-Democrat opinion piece by the WSJ's opinion page deputy editor Daniel Henninger on February 11, "The Scalia v. Stevens Smackdown In President Obama's view, corporations are anathema".

Henninger is long on how the Supreme Court's recent 5-4 decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission "sent liberaldom screaming into the streets", on Scalia's supposed "smackdown" of the very vehement disagreement by Justice Stevens for the minority, and painting a broad strokes picture of an Obama administration and liberal minority that is profoundly "out of synch" with the "basic world view" of a majority citizens working in the private economy (in which corporations play the central role) and who are close to "a tipping point over the scale and role of government"..

I agree with most of Henninger's criticisms about the Obama administration, but otherwise his editorial is shockingly uninsightful, uncritical, uninformed and uninterested on a number of key points, e.g.,

- in understanding the real nature of the dispute within the Supreme regarding important issues of Constitutional interpretation (such as the manner in which the "conservative" majority abandoned any pretence of an "originalist" interpretation of the First Amendment),

- in examining the breath-takingly radical and anti-democratic departure made by the majority from prior decisions - including decisions by the not-so-liberal Rehnquist - in overturning a statutory framework established by the legislated branch of the federal government (and state governments) over a period of centuries,

- in examining the many ramifications of this decision on related inalienable First Amendment rights that corporations have been endowed with via this decision, such as rights that other "persons "- us humans - have to speak anonymously, to not speak truthfully, and to run for office;

- in examining key federalism issues, particularly the role and authority of states in establishing corporations and granting them powers, and how the majority has concluded that the First Amendment now dictates that it is the Supreme Court, and not the states, that determine what rights to speak that these creatures of the states, 

- in understanding how profoundly different corporations are different from humans, as well as from more traditional associations, such as partnerships.

- in examining the way that corporations, by virtue of the profoundly un-libertarian grant of limited liability exended by the states to corporate shareholders leads to a shifting of uncompensated damages and risks to third parties, and has fuelled both the vast expansion of the size, scope and powers of corporations, but also the role and size of the opportunisticfederal government, which has continued to aggrandize power to itself at the expense of the states, in significant part on the basis that citizens were demanding that government step in to check the abuses of corporations (and that corporations preferred a central and more easily manipulable legislator/regulator); and

- in examining the political and ideological battle between left and right to control the media corporations and conglomerates that had held a privileged position inseeking to sway voters at election time.

I post in haste, and so will have to revisit this post to flesh out my remarks, but I hope that the reader will  see that, while professing to offer insights, Hennninger and the WSJ have done us all a disservice.

Without delving too far into the decision here, clearly it undermines further the authority of the states, while handicapping the power of Congress to limit corporate spending intended expressly for the purpose of influencing government policy. This can lead only to further rent-seeking by large corporations seeking advance from government rather than relying on their own prowess in the marketplace, and to increasing corruption in a Congress and administrative government that are already broken and, indeed, profoundly mistrusted by us living, breathing "persons".

Like the Roberts Supreme Court, the WSJ has show itself to be interested not it principle, but in policy. Sadly, a lack of principle goes a long, long, long way.

[For readers who aren't aware of them, here are my preceding posts on corporate "free speech"]

Published Sun, Feb 14 2010 6:42 AM by TokyoTom