Tuesday Highlights

Good morning.

  1. Some problems with debt … and notice the borrowing market for state and bank is not independent.
  2. Secret. Safe … and hackers (not Frodo & Gandalf).
  3. Looking forward in Iraq.
  4. A monumental issue.
  5. Church State separation issues.
  6. If they’re not tracking it … there is going to be rampant crime and fraud.
  7. A question for the atheist.
  8. In which the left praises an explicitly unconstitutional law.
  9. For myself I have no clue how to judge “intelligence” in the public forum or legal arena for that matter.
  10. Commuter designs.
  11. Toys for the military.
  12. Of Tolkien and Wagner.
  13. American police, tools techniques and liberty?
  14. Part two of a lecture on church and science from quite some time ago.
  15. Are philosophers hoping for something magical to occur in their field?
  16. On nomination hearings.

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14 comments

  1. Freddie says:

    So when I said that I was opposed to the law, and thought it should be overturned, and said that it was useless… that now equals praise?

    I genuinely don’t understand people like you– do you want to argue, or don’t you? If you’re going to dramatically misrepresent what I say, why bother to pretend that you’re discussing?

  2. Mark says:

    Freddie,
    When you write, “Because it ignores why campaign finance reform can seem so promising and so necessary: corporations and other moneyed interests pour millions of dollars into campaign contributions, and with them buy influence and power that corrupts our process and undermines our democracy.” … that seemed somewhat approving to me. The essence of the unconstitutionality of campaign finance reform is that it is unconstitutional to limit “corporations, moneyed interests” (and one might add the wealthy) to put dollars into campaigns.

    But you are right, I didn’t read carefully the whole of your essay. You don’t explicitly praise campaign finance reform per se, just its goals. What I don’t understand is how you think that its goals are not unconstitutional.

  3. A question for the atheist.

    Not this atheist. I don’t believe in objective morality.

    In which the left praises an explicitly unconstitutional law.

    LOL, “the left.” As in John McCain, 2008 Republican presidential candidate? Where are your posts on the right’s praising explicitly unconstitutional laws? (search and seizure, religious stuff, etc.)

  4. Boonton says:

    The essence of the unconstitutionality of campaign finance reform is that it is unconstitutional to limit “corporations, moneyed interests” (and one might add the wealthy) to put dollars into campaigns.

    Why?

  5. Mark says:

    JA,
    I don’t defend McCain on his campaign finance bill, much the reverse.

    Religious stuff?!

    Boonton,
    We have a right to free speech and press. The wealthy have the same rights too, and restricting their avenues of expression why campaign finance reform is the locus of the unconstitutionality of McCain/Feingold.

  6. Boonton says:

    it doesn’t seem to follow that restricting your ability to give money to someone else (like McCain) is inhibiting your speech. I believe the current law allows you to spend your own money on ‘speech’ if you do so directly.

  7. Mark says:

    Boonton,
    No it doesn’t, or I’m pretty sure it doesn’t. Because if they could they would in great profusion, and the campaign restrictions of the McC/Fgold bill would be nil.

    You or your organization can’t freely speak with a campaign and spend its own money in an unrestricted fashion currently speaking in a partisan fashion about campaign issues or topics.

    You qualify direct spending with the adjective “directly”. How is that constitutional? Don’t you have a constitutional right to free association?

  8. Boonton says:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Campaign_finance_in_the_United_States seems to indicate that you can more or less do so. Basically the campaign cannot direct you in how to spend your money so in some ways you have a greater freedom since the campaign can maintain plausible deniability on your speech.

    This, though, seems like a necessary evil. You admitted that the law can limit your ability to give money to McCain. Well, if you say “I’m not giving McCain a check but I’ll let him tell me who to make these checks out too and how much” you are effectively giving money directly to McCain.

  9. Mark says:

    Boonton,

    You admitted that the law can limit your ability to give money to McCain.

    ?? how did I “admit that.”

    Here’s the scenario I see as unconstitutional.

    1. I have in mind a advert/publication that is campaign oriented. -> must be constitutionally allowed
    2. I discuss it with the campaign personnel, soliciting their input on content suggestions and timing. -> free association -> constitutional.
    3. I pay for and create the advert. -> free speech.
    4. I release the ad. -> free speech

    That I think is illegal today, but should be constitutional. Do you agree or not?

  10. Boonton says:

    I’m not really sure, to be honest with you. I don’t think it’s covered under free association. The question would be does the involvement of campaign personnel rise to the point where the campaign is the real one spending the money & you are just acting as a diversion to dodge campaign finance and reporting laws or is it really you spending the money and you’re just getting ‘advice’ from the campaign.

    I don’t think this is a very novel legal question, though. People are very creative in trying to find ways to avoid liability and one method is to set up shell corporations and such to allow someone to do something but make it appear on paper that someone or something else is really responsible for it. When such cases end up in court, the mess has to be carefully untangled and sometimes the set up is sufficient to provide a shield and sometimes it isn’t.

    I would imagine, then, more facts would have to be presented in order to get a real handle on who is the true person spending the money. If it’s really the campaign then ‘free speech’ and ‘free association’ is not a cover against regulation.

  11. Mark says:

    Boonton,

    The question would be does the involvement of campaign personnel rise to the point where the campaign is the real one spending the money & you are just acting as a diversion to dodge campaign finance and reporting laws or is it really you spending the money and you’re just getting ‘advice’ from the campaign.

    Uhm, in a discussion about the unconstitutionality of campaign finance laws, suggesting that these are dodges to avoid (unconstitutional) laws is begging the question.

    How is it constitutional, under free press/free association, for the government to say you can accept only so much money from X or spend only so much money? How is “campaign speech” constitutionally limited at all?

  12. Boonton says:

    The dodge isn’t against a law prohibiting you to speak but against a law prohibiting you to give unlimited amounts of money to someone else (who may or may not use it for speech).

  13. Mark says:

    Boonton,
    Yes. And this how is that Constitutional?

  14. Boonton says:

    The courts have found that the state has a vested interest in regulating the money received by politicans running for office and holding office both to prevent corruption and the perception of it. The first amendment, on the other hand, does not seem to imply any right to give people money without regulation and I find the ‘money = speech’ argument unconvincing in this regard. Maybe your own money can be equated with speech when the subject is putting caps on campaign spending but I don’t think it follows that not being able to bribe donate to those running for office equals speech regulation.