CNN gives us
"I hope we shall...crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and to bid defiance to the laws of our country."Then there was Abraham Lincoln:
"I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. . . . corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed."Also, former Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black (1938) The Secret of Life:
" Of the cases in this court in which the 14th amendment [which gave US citizens equal protection under the law] was applied during its first 50 years after its adoption, less than one half of 1% invoked it in protection of the Negro race, and more than 50% asked that its benefits be extended to corporations."However, this year (2010):
"Overruling two important precedents about the First Amendment rights of corporations, a bitterly divided Supreme Court ruled that the government may not ban political spending by corporations in candidate elections. . . . and it will have major political and practical consequences. Specialists in campaign finance law said they expected the decision to reshape the way elections were conducted. . . .Why is that important?
President Obama called it “a major victory for big oil, Wall Street banks, health insurance companies and the other powerful interests that marshal their power every day in Washington to drown out the voices of everyday Americans.”
Justice John Paul Stevens said the majority had committed a grave error in treating corporate speech the same as that of human beings." - NYT
"The corporation isn’t human, it’s more like Dr. Frankenstein’s monster … run amok on cocaine. . . .
Now drug companies and insurance companies will be able to throw unfettered money at any and every political contest they target. In many cases that kind of focused maneuver will likely swamp the efforts of the locals. . . .
Furthermore, it is going to mean my freedom of speech, which includes my right to have a chance to be heard, can be made meaningless by corporations that can simply drown out the sound of my voice.
When the Constitution says I have a right to freedom of speech, that can’t just mean I have the right to express myself. It says “speech,” which implies communication. This decision seems to say it’s now going to be OK for a corporation to spend billions of dollars to make sure nobody can hear what the hell I’m trying to say. -- Art and words by F.T. Rea