The American Dark Age (2016-2020) An archived history of the worst President ever

Well, in some parts of this country people still have reason to fear for their safety if they are outed as gay. Those are the people who would be politically silenced under your scheme.

And it’s not just gay rights. Anyone with an unpopular view could potentially be harassed if it became widely known. I don’t think that’s in the interests of democracy. It’s the same reason why we have secret ballot.

Standing on principle is often a luxury only the privileged can afford.

I think it is important to note that he lost completely. Obviously the cost of litigation is a whole separate issue, but I think it is an important distinction between someone being sued for an action (which can basically always happen) and that action being protected.

It does, but perhaps you’re right that there’s no slam dunk argument that it does so in reality as opposed to doing so only in an unreachable extreme.

No, you are sliding my argument into one about willingness, but mine was about capability. If you remove “willing” from your statement here, it is one that I think would be a good ideal. When we achieve that by preventing large expenditures or by heavily taxing them and using that money to allow the least-capable to have a level playing field is about the implementation of the ideal - I don’t really know what the best way is, but unregulated expenditure is not it.

Again, while it might be true that you can’t make a perfect standard, that doesn’t mean you can’t do better than “lie as much as you want, it’s all good.” Trump has proven that the system has no checks on this stuff, but he doesn’t have a monopoly on false advertising. My attitude on this is not meant as a way to get the Democrats to win, by the way, it’s to raise the level of discourse so that I don’t feel so strongly that Democrats should always win. We shouldn’t be looking at a choice between nonsense and half-sense, and allowing political speech to ignore and rewrite evidence at will is part of the problem.

I don’t think I need more support than to say that if I say something and 20 people hear it, then you contradict me and a million people hear it, you are infringing on my speech. If we made a law that racist statements could only be made by writing them on index cards and placing them in specially-designated boxes, that would clearly infringe on speech, right? So the circulation of ideas matters, and saying “well the law treats everyone equally” is basically similar to the argument that allowing every man to marry a woman and vice versa treats everyone equally.

Not all ideas are unregulated, for example, speech “inciting imminent lawless action” (from Brandenburg v. Ohio) can be regulated. I understand that the court is extremely reluctant to allow speech to be limited, but there is still a big difference between saying, “You can’t say X” and saying “you can only say things X number of times per day/month/whatever”.

No, not really. There’s a long list of things I could do that would effectively communicate ideas that would (quite rightly) result in my being arrested or fined by the government, and no Constitutional scholar would even blink.

For example, I cannot

  1. Place a billboard promoting my ideas on my neighbor’s lawn without asking
  2. Paint a clever and thought-provoking slogan on your chest without your permission.
  3. Stand peacefully and non-violently in a busy intersection holding a sign that promotes my cause.
  4. Give a thoughtful and well-reasoned explanation of my political views in a residential neighborhood using a megaphone at 3 am (and often not at 3 pm either.)
  5. Say that if you vote for my candidate I will give you a million dollars, when I do not have a million dollars.
  6. Say that if you vote for my candidate I will give you a million dollars, when I do have a million dollars and am perfectly serious about paying you (though this one might go away if Citizens United fans have their way.)
    7.Jam a TV station’s signal to present my own compelling documentary.
  7. Hack someone else’s Web site to put up my own manifesto.
  8. Walk into a City Council meeting, pick up the nearest City Council meeting, and start reciting my manifesto as loudly as possible without asking permission or waiting my turn.
  9. Give a public performance of my exquisitely composed “Symphony of Pain,” which is performed by striking different small animals with mallets.

The point being that while in all of those cases I’m expressing genuine ideas in a way I deem most effective, in all those cases I could also express those ideas in different ways that would not impinge in the government’s legitimate interest in protecting private property, public peace, preventing cruelty to animals etc.

In other words, I have the right to free speech: - but that does not mean I have the right to use a megaphone to express my opinion at maximum volume at any time or place I choose.

Citizens United buffs believe that (metaphorically) the restriction on megaphones should be removed. That has nothing to do with the open exchange of ideas, which requires a certain amount of discipline and quiet. It has everything to do with gaining maximum advantage for the people with the loudest megaphones.

There is already a good example of legislators getting together to decide what is “true” and worthy of publication: the school textbook wars of the last decade.

The result? Evolution was judged not to be true, just one hypothesis among many, and to be taught as a scientific “controversy”.

Sorry, but I see no reason to trust a government panel to keep BS out of discourse.

Yes, you absolutely do need more support. That statement is not even approaching self evident. My contradicting you is not in any way shape or form contradicting your speech, even if I make a more compelling, or my statement is better distributed than yours.

Your definition of infringement of speech is not accurate.

The reason why your hypothetical situation with the index cards is an infringement on my speech, is because you are literally limiting my ability to express myself. Thus, the infringement.

This does not logically extend to the mistaken belief that if someone else is MORE capable than you at expressing themselves, that you are having your rights infringed upon. Certainly not by the government.

The first amendment guarantees that the government will not LIMIT your ability to express your ideas. It does not guarantee that you will be able to express them as much as everyone else. You do not have the right that anyone provide you with such an enabling force. It merely means that the government cannot limit your own means.

Which is why what you are saying is antithetical to the first amendment of the constitution, because you are specifically suggesting that the government perform exactly that limitation on the speech of others.

Well, to be clear, Brandenburg v. Ohio actually specifically overturned an Ohio law which attempted to limit inflammatory speech. It actually EXPANDED speech rights from previous rulings, by saying that you’re even allowed to advocate violence, as long as you aren’t inciting an immediate violation of the law.

Thus, the expression of political opinion is protected, even as a call for action. It’s only the immediate act of lawlessness which is regarded as unprotected speech.

No, I’m only limiting the audience for your expression. Even if I allowed full use of all possible media, but enforced its placement in a specially-designated area, it would still infringe. If your only argument here is that the government is charged only with not interfering in speech and has no mandate to protect people’s right to speak from the depredations of other people, then I suppose you can also say that there’s no constitutional basis for laws protecting property, since the only guarantee is that Congress won’t steal your stuff. It is well-established that the government is able to limit the rights enumerated when doing so is supported by a legitimate interest. If having my ability to be heard restricted by the government would constitute infringement of speech, then having that ability to be heard restricted by powerful interests is a legitimate interest of the government. The 2nd amendment doesn’t protect the right to buy nuclear weapons.

I suppose this comes back to the question of the purpose of the government - I’m genuinely confused what purpose it’s supposed to serve if not to uphold the rights of vulnerable groups against impingement by powerful ones.

If I want to make a campaign that is hostile towards immigration, is that more like former or the latter? And who exactly makes that determination?

And why does corporate status matter? If Donald Trump wants to spend $1 million to lower tariffs on food imports, shouldn’t Tyson Foods be allowed to spend $1 million to raise those tariffs?

When we invaded Iraq.


You are conflating the right to do something and the ability to do it. Americans have the right to own property and they can not be discriminated on based on lots of factors (e.g. race) in purchasing it. But I can’t buy Michael Jordan’s $15 million dollar mansion here in Chicago because I do not have $15 million dollars. This doesn’t infringe on my rights to own property. Someone else who has $15 million can buy it and not infringe on my rights. The government isn’t obligated to make it so I can afford that house.

… and just for clarity - just because the government isn’t obligated to make affordable housing a goal, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s forbidden to make affordable housing a goal as well. There’s more to what makes a good government than Musts and Must Nots.

I’m not conflating them, I’m saying the first is irrelevant without the second. Just as Jim Crow made the 15th Amendment irrelevant in many states (with the support of the Court, btw). I don’t have a right to own some particular mansion, but I do have a right to not have my house walled-off by someone who bought all the property around it and built walls on it (and made Mexico pay for them, presumably).

Ha! Nice.

Hindsight is 20/20 and I doubt you would get 80% support now. The Citizens United poll is from 2015, many years after the Supreme Court ruling. Now that we have had a few election cycles, it is clear that it was a bad decision.

I understand where you are coming from, and it is a delicate issue, I appreciate you playing devil’s advocate here. For sure, you could definitely argue some of the merits of the ruling, but overall it is just a bad thing. Citizen’s United ruling basically opened the floodgates for both bad money and good. We need a solution to this issue. It is clear, from the insane spending on judicial races, to the insane money being funneled at campaigns, things got worse after that ruling. I doubt you could get a majority of people to say that the election coverage and ads have become more fair or representative of their views.

We have serious issues with both campaigns. Trump supporters assume that the banks and media have paid Clinton off, and the Clinton supporters assume that Putin and Russia (a foreign interest) are paying for Trump’s campaign. And it isn’t whether there is truth to these claims or not. It is the idea that it could be possible for these claims to be true, that makes the Citizen’s United ruling so deadly.

Justice Stevens put it quite well.

Second, Stevens argued that the majority did not place enough emphasis
on the need to prevent the “appearance of corruption” in elections.
Earlier cases, including Buckley and Bellotti, recognized
the importance of public confidence in democracy. Stevens cited recent
data indicating that 80% of the public view corporate independent
expenditures as a method used to gain unfair legislative access.
Stevens predicted that if the public believes that corporations dominate
elections, disaffected voters will stop participating.

It is uniquely damaging to how Americans view politics and elections as a whole. The system is “rigged” as it were. It is extremely clear that a majority of citizens feel this way, and I am glad that there is bipartisan support (somewhat) to amend the constitution (Bernie already submitted a bill) to overturn this ruling.

It isn’t whether or not the ruling, in principle, makes sense. You could argue founding fathers intent, and constitutional wording all day, lord knows (Scalia had a hard on for that sort of thing) but… we have evidence that many of the unintended consequences that the 4 dissenting justices were worried about are happening now. The bad stuff that the majority opinion said that wouldn’t happen… is happening.

Is this true, though? My understanding is that the vast majority of campaign spending is coming from the same sources as before Citizens United. To address it in the way ravennight seems to want would require much stricter rules than existed before Citizens United.

And this is the crux of it. Much like the Voting Rights Act, the majority wrote a decision premised on a certain logic that these certain bad things would not happen.

Hell Scalia himself voiced that anonymous donors were a problem.

So the reality is that, in full light of consequences, that the majority opinion erred in being dismissive of the potential perils, as those perils have come true. And whatever else you may feel about the role of money in politics it is inarguable that the unlimited access to money and political influence that Citizens United released did damage faith that elections were being held on a fair basis. The public trust and belief has certainly waned.

Plus I would argue that this further pushes polarization, as we have evidence that fringe and extremist views are more willing to spend money than the middle of the road or moderates. The more passionate you are about something, the more money a cause gets. This in turn incentives playing to extremes, rather than moderation.

I don’t disagree at all, I just think that it is highly unlikely that it is just abruptly overturned directly. Not only because the Supreme Court rarely does that (although obviously they do sometimes), but because overturning it has a similar optics problem of the ‘newly liberal’ Court being all ‘activist’. While I am no where near an expert and admit to really really stretching my understanding here, I think that this is something Roberts would like to avoid just based on what I do know about him.

The best way to address this is legislation and while the Court has had to step up a lot lately since Congress won’t do their jobs, I think that they will give it some time and hope Congress gets its act together.

The Court tends to play the long game.

It’s the calm before the T Rex escapes its cage.

Let’s get back on topic. I just looked at Trump’s twitter. It’s full of stupid shit, but it’s the regular stupid shit he always posts, nothing particularly egregious. He’s using a new hashtag, #DrainTheSwamp. Wtf is this now?

A reference to the fact that DC itself is built on reclaimed swamp land, and he wants to drain it of the politicians that are conspiring against him.