We should Amend The Constitution to Overturn Citizens United
Debate Rounds (3)
First, I'll provide a short summary for voters who haven't yet heard about the Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission case and the proposed amendment that would overturn it. In January 2010, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in favor of Citizens United, a conservative lobbying organization that wanted to air a film strongly criticizing Hillary Clinton shortly before the 2008 Democratic primaries. The showing of this film had previously been deemed in violation of the McCain-Feingold Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA), which regulated excessive campaign donations and advertisements from certain corporations, unions, and committees. Citizens United took the case regarding the ban of their film to the Supreme Court, which ruled that corporations and unions could make independent expenditures and electioneering communications that were previously deemed illegal by the BCRA and a number of other court rulings and laws.
In response to the Supreme Court decision, a number of progressive organizations have asked that the ruling be overturned. These groups mainly disprove of the ruling because it allows certain corporations, unions, and financial giants to donate and advertise for the candidates of their choice regardless of the amounts of spending involved. Groups opposing Citizens United want to pass an amendment that limits corporate giants from pouring unlimited amounts of money into the election cycle - this amendment is supported by millions and millions of regular Americans who want to take elections out of the hands of billionaires and into the hands of the common folk who are entitled to choose government officials on their own accord (as per the Constitution). The following reasons overwhelmingly show the reasoning of these groups in wanting to overturn Citizens United, and demonstrate why each and every Constitution-abiding American should support them in their cause:
1. Corporations, unions, and individuals can now spend unlimited amounts of money campaigning for candidates of their choice using 'electioneering communications' (advertisements). Before the Supreme Court ruled in the Citizens United vs. FEC case, laws and reforms such as the BCRA made sure that the people, not the financial giants, were in control of who wins an election. Common Americans were the ones you could find campaigning, and regular folk were in charge of whether Candidate A, Candidate B, or Candidate C is victorious. However, due to the Citizens United ruling, this is no longer the scenario. Today, the common citizens are pushed out of the way, with corporations and billionaires being the new ones in charge. Due to the ruling, they can spend however much they want advertising on the television, on the radio, and in newspapers - this makes the election hop out of the hands of American citizens and into the hands of banks, companies, and unions who can now control the outcome of an election themselves. Note that unlimited means unlimited, meaning that the same one percent of American citizens in control of 47% of America's wealth are the ones who are influencing whether corporate-funded, wealthy career politicians or honest candidates with good ambitions are winning elections (after financial giants take firm root in the election process, we won't see any more of the latter type of candidate mentioned unless something changes).
2. With the Citizens United ruling, the political and electoral process will be completely re-innovated. As mentioned earlier, once the corporate-interest billionaires are in full control of the electoral process, we won't see any more of the genuine, trustworthy candidates that actually care for the well-being of America and its citizens. The effects of the Supreme Court ruling in this aspect can already be seen through elections around America, with bank-friendly, corporate-approving candidates beginning to win elections due to unlimited funding from massive financial giants. For example, let's take a look at the 2012 United States Massachusetts Senatorial election. This election, taking place after the Citizens United ruling, saw Elizabeth Warren, a professor at Harvard and well-known activist for financial reform, take on incumbent Scott Brown, a career politician who had previously served in both the Massachusetts Senate and House of Representatives. While Warren was known around the United States for her creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and opposition to giant banks and corporate interests, Brown was funded by a variety of the same humongous banks and corporations that Warren fought against. In order to see the effect of the Citizens United ruling over who got which funds, let's look at the top five donors for each candidate.
1. EMILY's List (PAC that works to help women with progressive values win office)
2. MoveOn.org (public policy advocacy group)
3. Harvard University
4. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
5. Boston University
1. Fidelity Investments (financial services corporation)
2. EMC Corporation (multinational corporation)
3. Golman Sachs (multinational investment banking firm)
4. VoteSane PAC
5. State Street Corporation (financial services holding company)
After viewing these donors, you can see quite plainly that the banks and corporations have a humongous influence in choosing who wins elections. Elizabeth Warren, an opponent of corporate interests and corrupt banks, was funded by universities and progressive activist groups, while Scott Brown, a proponent of corporate interests, was funded by a variety of financial corporations and banking firms. Without the Citizens United ruling, the billionaires in charge of corporations and banks wouldn't have been able to manhandle elections nearly as much as they were able to. Eventually, Warren won by a small margin, though the election serves as a reminder that without appropriate regulations on corporate funding, a few aristocrats will be able to completely control the outcome of elections regardless of the wants and needs of common American citizens (Note: I'm completely fine if you support any one political party over another, though you must understand that regardless of political affiliation, all candidates deserve a chance to be heard and shouldn't be shoved to the side by the powerful voices of large banks, corporations, and billionaires that put financial interests ahead of our own nation"s well-being).
3. Opponents of Citizens United are using the powers entitled to them by the Constitution to argue their case. While those who approved of the ruling might say that reducing the amount of money giant corporations can spend on elections is violating 'free speech', the opponents of Citizens United truly have the constitution on their side. The First Amendment, held to be near-sacred by many of America's citizens, states cleanly and clearly that Americans have the right to freedom of speech, petition, assembly, etc. All of these rights are important in determining electoral reform legislation. At first sight, 'freedom of speech' might appear to mean that donors can spend as much money as they'd like to advocate their electoral positions. 'Freedom of speech' also applies to the common American. Allowing corporate giants and bankers to run elections quashes the speech of the common American - no longer are elections controlled by Americans who want to speak for their candidates. Rather, our speech is being shoved aside by billionaires and financial giants that think they can control the outcome of elections themselves.
These are all reasons why an anti-Citizens United amendment should be supported, though it looks like I have nearly run out of my characters, so I must stop my argument short. Thank you, and good luck next round! :D
Here is what Db is not telling you, Db wants to imprison authors, filmmakers, pamphleteers, bloggers, publishers and anyone else who reports on politics if he deems them a "Non-Journalist". The Citizens United case was about a person, David Bosie, being threatened by the Bush administration with 5 years in prison for film-making. A vote in favor of "Pro" for this debate is a vote in favor of giving government power to imprison filmmakers, authors, publishers etc.... for political speech. You have to ask yourself "Do I want the government to decide who is a journalist and who is not?" Why is Rush Limbaugh and his corporate producers free to denounce or acclaim politicians but NAACP leadership is threatened with prison for doing the same thing? What Db wants here is to effectively license journalism as if we are some totalitarian state with a disregarded constitution. I can only make assumption as to why the "licensed" journalists fail to report on this power to ban books. Some of you are surely shaking your head in disbelief. "This Patulous is madd" "This can not be true" "The United States would never threaten Prison for speaking of politics". I have a link to the Supreme court argument that confirms this nefarious law. The Obama administration admits to this power but assures us it would never imprison an author but would imprison a filmmaker. A link to this clip that was suspiciously taken down from YouTube four years ago based on copyright infringement. I can say "Suspiciously" because I thought these hearings were open to the public. I searched for these links for years until I found one on a file-sharing website. Here is the only surviving link I know of that exposes the administration desperately clinging to the power to imprison authors and anoint journalists. The administration actually tells the court that any writers imprisoned could win an "As Applied" challenge in court. As if everyone has tens of millions of dollars and years of time to go through the Federal Court system. ( https://www.youtube.com... ). To form opinions on this case through information meted out to you by likes of agenda driven souls like Bill O'Rielly or Rachel Maddow is foolishly remiss. We need to hear from the court and its debate first hand. That is why I implore everyone to read the opinion and dissent on this case. I have read them and surprisingly found that all nine justices agreed that David Bosie of Citizens United had his civil rights violated. The dissent was a mad rant by Stevens screaming that they should not have acted at all on this law the BCRA. Steven's reason for inaction and dissent was based on a technicality regarding David Bose's challenge being "Facial" or "As applied".
For some reason Db lists donors of campaign contributions when this debate is about reinstating the BCRA and has nothing to do with campaign contributions. Typical tactic of "Hey look over here..pay no attention to the 500 pound gorilla" This debate has to do with the BCRA banning books just as Db has admitted to.
Db wants to imprison some writers for their speech because he doesn't like what some groups of people have to say while allowing corporations he favors, like General Electric, to spew all the "Electioneering" they want. Db sells this to the masses by saying "I will protect you from dishonest people that will steer your vote upon a sea of fallacy". If you step back a moment and think about this Db is actually saying "You are so terribly lacking in common sense that you need me to decide who can report on American politics. Lets not let your stupidity get in the way of democracy. I will decree who can report to you and who can not. Glen Beck thumbs up...Michael Moore Thumbs down...Chris Williams thumbs up...David Bosie thumbs down. Trust me" That effectively is what Db is saying to the American masses.
My opponent begins Round 2 by correcting me in saying that the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA) applies only to electioneering, not donations. With all due respect, my opponent must understand that he/she is incorrect and the BCRA does, in fact, address donations - one of its two main effects was the restriction of 'soft money', or money donated in a way that escapes federal regulation. The BCRA banned federal political parties and officeholders from soliciting, receiving, directing, transferring, or spending soft money, as unregulated soft money could be used unethically in elections and cause political corruption. However, the Supreme Court overturned this part of the act in the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission case, as it struck down the BCRA provisions that prohibited corporations and unions from making both electioneering communications AND independent expenditures. I do hope that my opponent recognizes his/her fault in believing that the BCRA was unrelated to donations (independent expenditures), and now realizes that the Citizens United case that he/she is trying to defend did, in fact, allow corporations and unions once more to donate and campaign in elections using ways widely seen as corrupt, unethical, and unprincipled.
My opponent continues his/her argument by asserting that I want to "imprison authors, filmmakers, pamphleteers, bloggers, publishers and anyone else who reports on politics" if they aren't journalists. This is hilariously false. Nowhere in my first argument did I express even an implication of desire that I want to arrest those in the media who are reporting on politics - nor do any of the millions of Americans who feel similarly that allowing corporations to donate and campaign in elections without the slightest of limits is corrupt and unjust. We simply want to achieve our honest goal by preventing corporations, unions, and other financial giants from completely manhandling elections by donating gruelingly massive amounts of money to help corporate-interest career politicians further influence and deregulate America's already corrupt Crony capitalistic economic system. Once more, I do not advocate the imprisonment of political commentators, nor do any of those who support the amendment that overturns the Citizens United ruling and allows federal elections to once more be controlled by everyday Americans instead of bankers and billionaires who have their own personal interests in mind.
My opponent then begins to focus on David Bossie (I can only assume that he is who you were referring to, as you failed to spell his name correctly in your argument). Con asserts that Bossie, the current Chairman of Citizens United, was "threatened by the Bush administration with 5 years in prison for film-making." My opponent portrays Bossie as an innocent man, though this is far from true. The Chairman's first political scandal occurred when he was hired as a political activist during the Whitewater controversy. Bossie was accused of tampering with telephone call recordings of former United States Associate Attorney General Webster Hubbell by purposefully removing sections that would have cleared President Bill Clinton of wrongdoing. Bossie, as an operative for the GOP, tampered with the call recordings in order to make Clinton appear guilty of accusations against him, while in reality, the full recordings could have easily proved Clinton to be innocent. After the scandal, Bossie was fired, with even the GOP encouraging him to resign. If Bossie's nearly-successful attempt to character assassinate President Clinton doesn't convince you that there was reason to convict him, his next run-in with the law will. After becoming Chairman of the Citizens United, David Bossie lead the organization's 2008 attempt to distribute a film heavily critical of Democratic candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton. A district court ruled that the distribution of the film violated the terms of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, as it was classified as an illegal corporation-paid electioneering campaign (advertisement) due to its obvious negative portrayal of Hillary Clinton, close time proximity to the 2008 Democratic Primaries, and immense funding by anti-Clinton organizations and groups. Bossie, however, neglected the district court's righteous decision, even though it was an obvious electioneering communication clearly in violation of the BCRA (this string of events was what later led to the Citizens United v. FEC ruling). As shown, there was an obvious reason to convict Bossie of charges due to his violation of the BCRA, though he was later cleared due to the outcome of the Supreme Court ruling. My opponent is creating a falsehood in attempting to portray Bossie as an innocent man, as he clearly violated the law multiple times, though escaped sentencing.
The rest of my opponent's argument is essentially a collection of lies, fallacies, and ad hominem misquotes. First, Con continues the speculation that supporters of the BCRA and the hypothetical new amendment want to imprison those simply exercising their First Amendment rights. Nowhere can my opponent find an example of putting "authors, filmmakers, pamphleteers, bloggers, publishers and anyone else who reports on politics" in jail for their speech - the BCRA wasn't put in place to apprehend innocent political activists, only those who cheat and dodge honest campaign reform regulations (e.g. David Bossie) in order to donate unlimited amounts of money to candidates of their choice through independent expenditures or electioneering communications/advertisements. The point of the amendment is to make sure that corporations, unions, and individuals don't cheat our nation's already faulty political system by pouring loads of cash into elections in order to support corporate-interest, pro-Crony capitalistic candidates who truly don't care about the needs and interests of the common American. After all, the United States government and all that is included therein is by the People and for the People, not by the Corporations and for the Corporations.
In the last section of my opponent's argument, he criticizes me for being off-topic listing campaign contributions of a recent Senate election. This is far from true. The point of the contribution list was to show how corporations could completely manhandle elections themselves - one candidate was funded by universities and progressive PACs, while the other was funded by corporations and banks. That election would've gone differently if the Citizens United case hadn't happened - instead of corporations and banks being in charge of who wins an election, the election would be funded by actual people with actual concerns and actual needs.
Finally, my opponent decides to attribute some quotes to me. Con says that I'm telling Americans that they "are so terribly lacking in common sense that you need me to decide who can report on American politics" - I never said this and am slightly offended by my opponent attributing quotes to me that just aren't true. I request that Con doesn't base an argument off of misquotes and speculations next time, instead focusing on actual evidence from actual sources (note that my opponent's only source is a single broken YouTube link).
I would like to conclude by making it apparent that my opponent failed to rebut any of my arguments from my first round, while I have succeeded in rebutting his. Unless my opponent succeeds in making valid points of his own and successfully creates rebuttals to mine, this debate might as well be over. Anyway, I would like to thank my opponent once more, and wish Con the very best of luck. Thanks! :D
Db denies that he wants the administration to have the power to imprison journalists yet he admittedly wants to ban movies. Db makes that undeniably clear with his statement "Citizens United took the case regarding the ban of their film". When a government has power to ban a movie they also have the power to ban books, Pamphlets and much more. The force behind this power was the threat of imprisonment. As you just heard, the Obama administration assures us that they will only imprison film makers not writers. An assurance that expires in 2016. Not that a politicians promise is worth anything at all anyway. I find it troubling that Db finds the banning of movies and imprisonment of filmmakers acceptable at all. This is the United States of America. We don't ban Political speech in the form of Books, movies, pamphlets, newsletters and we never give a politician the power to do so.
This debate is about reinstating the BCRA in its entirety. The law may have had some good clauses in it but the bad ones are unacceptable and unconstitutional. If you read the courts opinion they uncharacteristically beg congress to get to work to write new law reinstating the good clauses and even give a green light on the constitutionality of these measures. Congress feebly initiated this but shelved their minimal effort in favor of creating Obama care.
Db is in favor of deciding who is a journalist and who is not. Db has already decided that David Bossie is not. In the USA the only person who can decide if you are a journalist is you. As long as you have never proved to be a felon even if you have your character assassinated by Db as he did to David Bossie you can still be a journalist based entirely on your own decision. Db even claims David Bossie committed the crime of "Electioneering" he seems to not have noticed that "Electioneering" is not a crime in the USA like it is totalitarian states such as Zimbabwe or North Korea. Db seems to have a poor understanding of what "Electioneering" is otherwise he would know that people like Rachael Maddow, Rush Limbaugh, Chris Matthews, Glen Beck and many more commit "electioneering".
With obvious tongue in cheek I humorously attribute a made up quote to Db. Sadly it is in the realm of Db's true perception. Db is, in all practicality, saying to you "You are so terribly lacking in common sense that you need me to decide who can report on American politics and who can not" Db is saying to you "David Bossie should be banned from reporting to you and should be imprisoned for doing so" Who else does Db want to silence so that you can not hear what they have to say. Obviously with great arrogance Db wants choose for you who can report to you and who can not. What is really frightening is that we don't know who will be in the White House in 2016..2020..'24....and on
Some totalitarians who argue in favor of the BCRA will say that the law is only applied for one third of the year. I don't care if it is for one minute a year. One minute is too long to give a president the power to ban books, movies etc....and to imprison authors, filmmakers etc....
Db states " Nowhere can my opponent find an example of putting 'authors, filmmakers, pamphleteers, bloggers, publishers and anyone else who reports on politics' in jail for their speech". Such laws are about fear. The threat of violence and imprisonment for reporting on politics silences journalists around the world. Our court does not take cases until there is an injured party and in this case there was an injured party. The party was not only David Bossie. The injured party was all of us. The American people. The right to free speech is also the right to hear and we the people were denied our right to hear all sides report on Hillary. That is why the court set the case back to David Bossies original "Facial" challenge. This whole case that we are discussing is about a film I never was allowed to see because it was banned by the Bush administration empowered by the BCRA. The Bush administration declared that David Bossie was not a journalist and threatened violence upon him if he were to report on Hillary Clinton. (and yes, arrest and detainment is an act of violence. Just ask the family of Eric Garner) Never give your government the power to decide what is truth or what is false. Who is a journalist or who is not. You are intelligent enough to discern these thing for yourself despite Db's lack of confidence in you.
Laughingly Db speaks as if our election system was less corrupted for the several years that the BCRA was in place. It was as corrupted then as it is now.
The solution is not to regress from the Bill of Rights as Db supports here with the extreme measure of Amending the constitution to allow future administrations to decide who is and who is not a journalist. Only you should decide for yourself whether or not you are a Journalist. Only you should decide who you want to listen to and who you believe. Don't let a future administration decide that for you, your children and all of our descendants. We do need to regulate campaign contributions, soft money and disclosure. These are honorable things that can be done in congress with in the framework of our good constitution. These are things that the Court begged Congress to do in the "Opinion". To deceptively foster a movement to unnecessarily amend the Constitution is suspicious. The people behind this Amendment want control. Control of what you are allowed to hear, to know and to think. Demand the right to think for yourself and vote "NO!" for an amendment that gives the power to future administrations to decide for you who is a journalist and who is not. To decide who you are allowed to hear and who is silenced. You are intelligent you know hot air when you see it. Beware of the thought police.
Opinion ( http://www.law.cornell.edu... )
Dissent ( http://www.law.cornell.edu... )
Some minutes of the case ( https://www.youtube.com... )
With that, I would like to thank my opponent once more for creating this debate, and wish Con the best of luck in voting!
"America is by the people and for the people, not by the corporations and for the corporations." - Me
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Bennett91 2 years ago
|Who won the debate:||-|
Reasons for voting decision: This one was a hard one to decide. Neither side addressed the main contention of the other very directly. Pro argued of increased power by corporations in campaigns, Con argued a threat to free speech and imprisonment for said free speech. However this vote go's to Pro, not based on the substance of the argument mind you. Both are tied. I vote for Pro because Con at points used strawman and his argument was largely conspiratorial w/o evidence of the conspiracy. At least Pro managed to show banks were involved. I would rather say it's a tie, but since a tie breaker is needed I must cast a vote. and just by the 2 sides Pro is slightly more convincing.
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