Saturday, September 28, 2013

Dump The American Civil Liberties Union, Opponents of Democratic Self-Government Since At Least 1976

I am slowly making my way through a long article by Joel Gora,  law professor at the Brooklyn School of Law and one of the major ACLU lawyers who has been steadily undermining campaign finance reform since the mid-1970s.   I know, as if the billionaires don't have enough money to hire the hacks that are hacking democracy into splinters. The slow going is because I can only take just so much dishonest oligarchic empowering doublespeak in one sitting before my boiling point is reached.   The piece is published in the Howard Law Journal [ You can read it here beginning on page 763].

Figured I should catch up with what the ACLU was doing to attack self-government before the Roberts Court completely handed our elections systems over to the billionaires* and to the likes of Shaun McCutcheon.  And there is no figure who has done more on behalf of the billionaires than Gora.   Reading his article I am hard put to understand why he isn't considered as infamous and repugnant a figure as Roy Cohn or Rupert Murdoch.   Here is how he describes himself in a footnote on the first page.

I should also note that as an ACLU lawyer I helped challenge the campaign finance restrictions and requirements at issue in many of the cases discussed in this article, most notably, Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U.S. 1 (1976).

You would think that the man who was instrumental in allowing the demigods on the Supreme Court to turn money into speech, enabling the strongest force in lying to people in order to control politics would be widely vilified but, since he is associated with the ACLU,  my guess would be that alone would be enough for people on the left to respect him.  Well, I don't respect him because he has made a career trying to do what he has.   As far as I am concerned, he's at least as worthy of disdain as the Koch brothers,  Rupert Murdoch and all of those more public names.  No, he is more worthy of it because he was working under the prestige of the ACLU and with the slogan of "free speech" while making sure speech isn't free because it now has a monetary value embedded in it.   As I pointed out, by doing that you give more speech to those with more money and you dispossess those who have no money.  That has been the real world effect of Joel Gora's life work as can be seen in the total and absolute disempowerment of, first the destitute and poor and, increasingly, the middle class.   When you allow the richest to own information you allow them to dispossess us of the ability to cast an informed vote, the first and most important guarantee against despotism.  By allowing the successful selling of lies to an effective margin of voters,  you turn what should be a sacred act into one bound to produce government by the liars, for the liars and against The People.  That is the real result of the ACLU's participation in these issues.  That is why we have been suffering though the appalling series of administrations and congresses, governors and legislatures we have had since that fatal bicentennial year.

Gora and his fellow well tailored enablers of oligarchy hide behind a pretense in the form of instructive legal fables, leaving out the reality of the world as it really is.  There isn't enough George Soros money, used boldly and effectively on behalf of the poor and middle class that will effectively counter the combined forces of the super rich who 1. collectively own more money than the large majority of The People, 2. have shown no intention of doing anything but corrupting government to allow them to get even more of it through unillegalizing what they want to do, 3. are psychotically willing to even destroy the biosphere in order to do that.   Allowing Gora and the other enablers of oligarchy to pretend that Buckley vs. Valeo enables some heroic billionaire savior of democracy as much as the oligarchs is not something we are required to do.  We live in reality not in some Socratic fable discussed in a law class.  One of the foremost products of that teaching method seems to be to allow lawyers and judges and justices to avoid dealing with real life depending on the self-interested "what if" pretenses of alleged possibility that never seems to happen in real life.

I was brought up on all of the propaganda that the great and good American Civil Liberties Union told about itself and promoted.   I bought it for a long time.  The ACLU began to lose me exactly at the point of Gora's win in Buckely vs. Valeo. Finding out its role in that abomination was only the beginning of my total disillusionment with them.   It increased two years later with the ACLU role on the side of the Nazis in the Skokie case.  As a past contributor to them I suddenly realized that by giving them money my "speech" was going to support the "right" of Nazis to torture Jewish survivors of the Nazi rule in Europe,  on my behalf, the "Civil Liberties Union" was supporting the political organization and the propaganda of Nazis.  To put it mildly, I stopped giving them my "speech" to use that way.   I would very strongly encourage you to ask if you want to hand them your "speech" to promote things like the "citizens" of "Citizens United".

*  You can read what Gora and the ACLU are up to in this case coming up in the Court session that is just about to start.

But here is the brutal reality if the Court agrees with McCutcheon: Presidential candidates, House and Senate party leaders, and individual members of Congress could then form joint fundraising committees with national and state party committees and leverage contributions from individuals into huge sums to support their campaigns — maximums of more than $1 million for individual presidential candidates, more than $3.5 million for committees formed by congressional leaders, and nearly $200,000 for individual congressional candidates. We know, based on past experience, that presidential candidates, congressional leaders, and candidates would quickly spring into action to create the maximum number of joint fundraising committees and maximize the number of $3 million donors — and, of course, every candidate and office holder would know who was ponying up the amounts.

What if Congress then moved to outlaw joint fundraising committees (as if that could really happen!)? It would make the massive contributions a bit more cumbersome; donors (or their accountants) would have to write a lot of individual checks to individual party committees and candidates, instead of one or two big checks. The candidates and officeholders would still know clearly who had given the big bucks — and would open their office doors happily to them when they wanted or needed something from the government.

And as an example of the kind of willful unreality that the elite law schools teach their graduates to use to cover up their most self-interested lies:

Justice Anthony Kennedy, in his Citizens United opinion, made the astonishing assertion that unlimited sums spent “independently” of candidates and parties by corporations could not possibly have a corrupting influence. But Citizens United went out of its way not to make the same claim for contributions to candidates and parties. The corruption standard for limits on individual contributions undergirds Buckley and every major campaign finance decision since. Ruling in favor of McCutcheon would knock the pins out from Buckley and set us down a path to obliteration of all remaining campaign-reform limits.

In his confirmation hearing, John Roberts emphasized repeatedly that he would respect the previous decisions of the Court, would look to narrow the scope of decisions so that he could aim for 8-1 or 9-0 decisions instead of the frequent 5-4 divisions, and would bend over backwards to respect the role of other institutions, especially Congress. Citizens United demolished those pledges. A case brought on narrow grounds was abruptly broadened by Chief Justice Roberts and his conservative colleagues to include grounds that had never been initially asserted or briefed by the plaintiffs bringing the case, and the decision threw out one issued by the Court just a few years earlier, and effectively discarded decades of established law, jurisprudence, and practice over the appropriate role of corporations and unions in campaigns.

That is the corrupt, lying, corruptly perjured, real world that Joel Gora's and the ACLU's platitudes and absurd propositions cover up and depend on.   With their record in this line of cases they negate every amicus brief they might have ever issued for any poor defendant in their history, in reality as well as in fable.

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