It isn’t fair to focus on the House of Representatives, since the SCOTUS decision on Citizens United, popularized as “corporations are people,” is just as evident in the Senate and the White House. But that whole “People’s House” description of the House of Representatives makes it an excellent example of how the meaning of “people” has changed. As another popular phrase puts it: It’s “We the People,” not “We the Corporations.” In electoral politics, it’s very much about “we the corporations,” and “We the people” are the means by which “we the corporations” desired results are achieved.
A reminder about Citizens United, and those who oppose it, via Move to Amend: (bold in original)
On January 21, 2010, with its ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the Supreme Court ruled that corporations are persons … .
We, the People of the United States of America, reject the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United and other related cases, and move to amend our Constitution to firmly establish that money is not speech, and that human beings, not corporations, are persons entitled to constitutional rights.
The efforts toward overturning that decision have continued. Last week, the Move to Amend coalition announced:
Reps. Nolan & Pocan Respond to Hundreds of Local Resolutions Calling for ‘We the People’ Amendment …
… (T)he coalition … has helped to pass nearly 500 resolutions in municipalities and local governments across the country calling on the state and federal governments to adopt this amendment. …
(George Friday, Move to Amend spokesperson said) ‘The Citizens United decision is not the cause, it is a symptom. …’
This isn’t the first such attempt, as reported at HuffPo:
Over the past two years, 17 bills to pass a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United have been proposed by members of Congress, but none made it to the floor for a vote.
That’s not surprising. ‘Incumbents succeeded in the … system where big money rules the day,’ said David Burke … . ‘They’re going to be reluctant to reform the system that worked well for them.’
It’s the familiar problem for those seeking to push Electeds to change something that would result in the Electeds losing some power. The People’s House under Citizens United — along with the Senate and WH — are very much so empowered. And that’s not just the campaign funds per se. It’s about the infamous “revolving door.” Bill Moyers and Michael Winship recently wrote about this. At Nation of Change:
In our last episode of that ongoing Washington soap opera, ‘As the Door Revolves,’ we introduced you to former federal prosecutor Mary Jo White, pursuer of drug lords and terrorists, who left government to become a hot shot Wall Street lawyer defending such corporate giants as JPMorgan Chase, UBS, General Electric and Microsoft … and former Goldman Sachs board member Rajat Gupta, currently appealing his insider trading conviction.
… Now, courtesy of President Obama, Mary Jo White’s been named to head the SEC, the Securities and Exchange Commission – the very agency that regulates her clients and everyone else doing business in the stock market.
Moyers and Winship cite a report from POGO (Project on Government Oversight) which concluded that
… hundreds of the agency’s former employees have done or are doing business with the SEC on behalf of the corporations the agency is supposed to regulate. …
Analysis from Moyers and Winship:
When George W. Bush was president and named Chris Cox to run the SEC, we screamed like bloody murder, because Cox had been a partner at a huge global law firm whose client list included Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs. Now Obama’s pushing his choices through that same revolving door.
Laura Gottesdiener, at AlterNet, wrote “The Top 10 Biggest Beneficiaries of ‘Citizens United’ in the 2012 Election.”
… (T)he Center for Public Integrity … has put its finger on a figure of just how much more money the (Citizens United) ruling ushered in: nearly $1 billion. …
The FEC records show that about two-thirds of all the Citizens United-fueled money went to ten super PACs or political nonprofits, nine of which focused exclusively on buying media spots and ads for candidates. …
CPI’s analysis … also demonstrated the truth of the widely suspicion that little if any firewall separated super PACs from candidates’ actually campaign.
Paul Craig Roberts provides a “bigger picture” analysis in While Left And Right Fight, Power Wins. He looks at the “American left and right” and concludes
… that the left sees private power as the source of oppression and government as the countervailing and rectifying power, while the right sees government as the source of oppression and a free and unregulated private sector as the countervailing and rectifying power. …
Our Founding Fathers’ solution was to minimize the power of government and to rely on contending factions among private interests to prevent the rise of an oligarchy. …
(That) design more or less worked except for interludes of civil war and economic crisis until the cold war built up the power of government and the deregulation of the Clinton and Bush presidencies built up the power of private interests. It all came together with the accumulation of new, dictatorial powers in the executive branch in the name of protecting us from terrorists and with deregulation’s creation of powerful corporations ‘too big to fail.’
Now we have a government, whose elected members are beholden to a private oligarchy … .
Citizens United provides a neat and lucrative funding and revolving door connection between the “private oligarchy” and “elected members.”
The majority of Americans remain trapped in their unawareness … . The insouciance of the American population is its downfall.
“The People’s House” and “We the People” have been redefined, by way of the top down selected Duopoly Electeds, dutifully “voted in” by We the Electorate. And the two parties, well, that’s just the way it is. This is the system we have … unless and until somebody else changes it. Someday. Maybe.
(Corporate Flag via Think Progress)