Detail, east Portland photo, courtesy Miles Hochstein / Portland Ground.

For old times' sake
The bojack bumper sticker -- only $1.50!

To order, click here.

Excellent tunes -- free! And on your browser right now. Just click on Radio Bojack!

E-mail us here.


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on June 28, 2011 8:49 AM. The previous post in this blog was Truth leaks out of Fukushima more slowly than the poison. The next post in this blog is A moment of sobriety in Salem. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.



Law and Taxation
How Appealing
TaxProf Blog
Mauled Again
Tax Appellate Blog
A Taxing Matter
Josh Marquis
Native America, Discovered and Conquered
The Yin Blog
Ernie the Attorney
Above the Law
The Volokh Conspiracy
Going Concern
Bag and Baggage
Wealth Strategies Journal
Jim Hamilton's World of Securities Regulation
World of Work
The Faculty Lounge
Lowering the Bar
OrCon Law

Hap'nin' Guys
Tony Pierce
Parkway Rest Stop
Along the Gradyent
Dwight Jaynes
Bob Borden
Dingleberry Gazette
The Red Electric
Iced Borscht
Jeremy Blachman
Dean's Rhetorical Flourish
Straight White Guy
As Time Goes By
Dave Wagner
Jeff Selis
Alas, a Blog
Scott Hendison
The View Through the Windshield
Appliance Blog
The Bleat

Hap'nin' Gals
My Whim is Law
Lelo in Nopo
Attorney at Large
Linda Kruschke
The Non-Consumer Advocate
10 Steps to Finding Your Happy Place
A Pig of Success
Attorney at Large
Margaret and Helen
Kimberlee Jaynes
Cornelia Seigneur
And Sew It Goes
Mile 73
Rainy Day Thoughts
That Black Girl
Posie Gets Cozy
Cat Eyes
Rhi in Pink
Ragwaters, Bitters, and Blue Ruin
Rose City Journal
Type Like the Wind

Portland and Oregon
Isaac Laquedem
Rantings of a [Censored] Bus Driver
Jeff Mapes
Vintage Portland
The Portlander
South Waterfront
Amanda Fritz
O City Hall Reporters
Guilty Carnivore
Old Town by Larry Norton
The Alaunt
Bend Blogs
Lost Oregon
Cafe Unknown
Tin Zeroes
David's Oregon Picayune
Mark Nelsen's Weather Blog
Travel Oregon Blog
Portland Daily Photo
Portland Building Ads
Portland Food and
Dave Knows Portland
Idaho's Portugal
Alameda Old House History
MLK in Motion

Retired from Blogging
Various Observations...
The Daily E-Mail
Saving James
Portland Freelancer
Furious Nads (b!X)
Izzle Pfaff
The Grich
Kevin Allman
AboutItAll - Oregon
Lost in the Details
Worldwide Pablo
Tales from the Stump
Whitman Boys
Two Pennies
This Stony Planet
1221 SW 4th
I am a Fish
Here Today
What If...?
Superinky Fixations
The Rural Bus Route
Another Blogger
Mikeyman's Computer Treehouse
Portland Housing Blog

Wonderfully Wacky
Dave Barry
Borowitz Report
Stuff White People Like
Worst of the Web

Valuable Time-Wasters
My Gallery of Jacks
Litterbox, On the Prowl
Litterbox, Bag of Bones
Litterbox, Scratch
Ride That Donkey
Singin' Horses
Rally Monkey
Simon Swears
Strong Bad's E-mail

Oregon News
The Oregonian
Portland Tribune
Willamette Week
The Sentinel
Southeast Examiner
Northwest Examiner
Sellwood Bee
Mid-County Memo
Vancouver Voice
Eugene Register-Guard
OPB - Portland
Salem Statesman-Journal
Oregon Capitol News
Portland Business Journal
Daily Journal of Commerce
Oregon Business
Portland Info Net
McMinnville News Register
Lake Oswego Review
The Daily Astorian
Bend Bulletin
Corvallis Gazette-Times
Roseburg News-Review
Medford Mail-Tribune
Ashland Daily Tidings
Newport News-Times
Albany Democrat-Herald
The Eugene Weekly
Portland IndyMedia
The Columbian

The Beatles
Bruce Springsteen
Joni Mitchell
Ella Fitzgerald
Steve Earle
Joe Ely
Stevie Wonder
Lou Rawls

E-mail, Feeds, 'n' Stuff

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

"Voter-owned elections" was unconstitutional anyway

We are not the world's premiere constitutional scholar, but this decision yesterday by the U.S. Supreme Corp., invalidating Arizona's "clean elections" public campaign finance scheme, strongly indicates that Portland's quixotic "clean money" system was also illegal.

Not to mention foolish. Not to mention contrary to the will of the majority of the city's beleaguered taxpayers.

As much as we're glad to see a bad idea get buried even deeper, we're sad to see the nation's High Court once again side with big money. Corporations seem to have more rights than real people any more, and real people of means have a clear advantage over everyone else. No wonder the middle class is disappearing. You can almost hear Justice Clarence Thomas humming "That's What Friends Are For."

When a hot case like Arizona "clean elections" comes into the Supreme Court these days, four liberal knees and four conservative knees jerk up in opposite directions. That leaves the deciding vote, time and again, to Justice Anthony Kennedy. He is peculiarly susceptible to ideas that sound good in theory, but are a disaster on the ground. One such is the notion, bouncing around for 40 years now, that spending money on political campaigns is included in what the Constitution means by "speech." Too bad, but barring a constitutional amendment, that one's now set in stone.

"Clean money" was a waste of tax revenue in Portland's case -- I'm sure we never got a penny back from Emilie Boyles, for instance -- but its future was properly decided by a public vote. The rich people didn't need, and didn't deserve, to have the Constitution dragged in to invalidate it.

Comments (17)

I voted to end voter-owned elections because I thought it was poorly designed and executed -- not to mention it was another leech sucking the blood of Water Bureau ratepayers -- but I sympathize with the intent behind it and the folks who wanted to keep it. There's no realistic counterweight to the wealthy elite at the top and the labor unions at the bottom who have the money to elect their chosen puppets.

The so-called supreme court has turned our democratic processes over in their entirety to corporate interests.

The role of the Supreme Court is to identify criminal behavior by corporations and make it legal so that these crimes can never happen again.
I noticed there wasn't a lot of discussion in the media about the recent Janus case that's been called a blueprint for how Wall Street can defraud investors without fear of prosecution - assuming for a moment that they don't own the government and wouldn't face prosecution in the first place.
Personally, I got it about Scalia when he argued that torture was not cruel and unusual punishment, because you weren't trying to punish the inmates, you were trying to torture them.
That's the "through the looking glass" moment for me.

There hasn't been a genuine liberal on the Supreme Court since Brennan and Marshall retired in the early '90s. What we have now are four centrists, four hard-right reactionaries and one conservative in the Nixon-Ford-Bush Sr mold. In past eras, the presence of just a couple of true liberals meant that an otherwise conservative court could sometimes be shamed into doing the right thing (Brown v. Board, Roe v. Wade, etc.) That doesn't happen at all nowadays. It's 5-to-4 on practically everything that isn't unanimous.

Portland's scheme violated a state statute, and should not have ever required resorting to a constitution-based challenge.

I wish that the anti-corporation folks (and the city of Portland is a corporation too) would isolate on the issue of the taint of foreign ownership. Demand that the corporate speaker be completely free of the taint of foreign ownership.

Regardless of whether the city of Portland's scheme is/was folly or not, as compared to private corporate political speech, at least it does not have any direct foreign ownership.

"U.S. Supreme Corp." - that's perfect. Sad but true.

In past eras, the presence of just a couple of true liberals meant that an otherwise conservative court could sometimes be shamed into doing the right thing

I don't know that it was the presence of a true liberal, so much as the influence of someone like Brennan who could make an eloquent argument for doing the right thing, along with the ability of the conservative justices to actually listen to that argument and process it. Look at Gideon V. Wainwright, which was a unanamous decision that included Stewart, Harlan II, Clark, and White. Today, we have Roberts, Scalia, Thomas, and Alito, who are incapable of such a process.

What I'm not seeing here is the logical and concomitant complaint about big labor spending on campaigns. And I'm not either, by the way. In a pluralistic society people have the right to band together and pool their resources to attempt to influence government.

Interesting decision. But I have to say that even as a lefty, and general supporter of public financing, I have always agreed with the Court's decision that money is speech. It sounds awful as a sound bite, sure, but boil it down to its essence: If I, as an individual, want to "speak" to my fellow citizens about something, the only effective way to do that (shouting on a street corner doesn't do it) is to disseminate information, which costs money. Now imagine if I wanted to spend $5,000 to print up fliers, but the government told me I could only spend $2,500? Would anyone really argue that's constitutional? And of course if that's unconstitutional, then the (unintended) outcome is that someone who wants to spend $50k, or $500k, or $500m must be able to do the same.

The Arizona case is odd, however, in that the majority is arguing that the free speech rights of the wealthy are harmed by publicly-funded speech of the non-wealthy -- even though the wealthy could have taken the public funding but chose not to. As Kagan says, that is chutzpah.

Money may be speech, but who says corporations are persons whose speech is protected?

It is clear that the so-called Conservatives on the court want wealthy Republicans in office. Fiscal issues aside, the Arizona laws promoted free speech, which I guess is why the court voted against it, I mean only the rich have that right.

See this comment

Money may be speech, but who says corporations are persons whose speech is protected?

The Supreme Court. Sort of. In 1886, Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad, the headnote (a summary) of the decision claimed that the justices had all agreed that the 14 Amendment applied to corporations, and, essentially, making them persons under the law. The funny thing -- the justices had not said anything of the sort in their decision. Soooo.. ever since then, Corps have been legally people under the law. With constitutional rights. And despite the fact that most justices have know that the case didn't address the issue of the "personhood" of corporations, no one has ever revised the error.

If I'm wrong, please, someone, correct me.

3H, your analysis is correct. According to an article in Common Dreams last fall:

“In the decision itself the Supreme Court never ruled on personhood, but a former railroad president named J.C. Bancroft Davis who was the court reporter put the "ruling" in the decision's headnote:

‘The court does not wish to hear argument on the question whether the provision in the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution which forbids a State to deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws, applies to these corporations. We are all of the opinion that it does.’ "

Jack I really don’t understand your objections to the general principle of voter-owned elections. If you think democracy is a good idea, (and some people don’t), I don’t see how you can object to the idea of seeking some mechanism to level the playing field. As it is, candidates have to be either wealthy or in the pockets of big money to have a reasonable chance to win. I’ve read comments by a number of retiring legislators that they had to spend 90% of their time fundraising. That was before the recent Supreme Court decision that opened the bank vaults to so that candidates can back unmarked trucks right into them & load up.

Portland’s experiment was badly designed. It was too easy to cheat. A couple of people cheated. Ordinary people are drowning in debt & the big guns came out & played on the public’s disgust with government spending. That failure could have been/ could be a learning experience. But I think we must work out some kind of public funding if we are to have any chance of achieving a functioning democracy. Of course the Supreme Court has scuttled that, at least for now.

Speaking of it being too easy to cheat... shall we talk about electronic voting and vote tallying?

"...As it is, candidates have to be either wealthy or in the pockets of big money to have a reasonable chance to win."

Which one is President Obama?

Having been from Arizona, I can bear witness to the usefulness of the Clean Election system in at least offsetting the rampant plague of election fraud in the state. It's demise, like its public health program, is the result of incubated, nurtured power grab by the moneyed interests of the state.

Maricopa County, containing Phoenix, is the second largest voting district in the country. It's amusing to watch the rest of the nation's population scratch their heads and marvel at the level of idiocy among the state legislatures as they introduce immigration bills like SB1070 (only designed to discourage legal Hispanics from voting) and openly declare the earth's age of 6,000 years. They high-five each other once someone dies in need of a transplant.

Nobody seems willing to understand that none of these idiots occupying these state rep and senate seats were actually elected. Karen Osborne, the Maricopa Elections Administrator, is one of the worst, most corrupt bureaucrats rivaled only by Tucson, Arizona's Pima Elections head, Brad Nelson.

Having spent over half a year in this strange state of Oregon, I actually get the impression that the population is getting what its voting for. So I tell myself, "Gotta find out what it means with this voter-owned election stuff". Then I ask myself, "How the hell are they monitoring all mail-in ballots when mail-in ballots have so many opportunities for election fraud? Mail-in's are also extremely difficult (if not impossible) to audit when the outcomes are questionable.

PR puts the nations focus on the dubious scourge of "vote fraud" to direct attention away from "election fraud", which is truly rampant throughout the country.

So far, what makes places like Portland "weird" is that which is actually done right. Granted, newbies notice right away that the local power company needs to be dealt with and that there's a creepy push to defund and crapify public schools to give a private school leg up on behalf of the not-so-bright offsprings of the rich and powerful breeding amongst themselves.

Based on experiencing how bad it could get in a state like Arizona, perhaps I suffer from "mail-order bride syndrome".

I think it's a perversion to say that money is speech. Sure, money buys speech. Money also buys coffin nails, but money isn't a coffin nail-- although in terms of a functioning democracy, it's closer to being a coffin nail than it is to being speech!

It's perfectly legitimate and sensible to argue that it's constitutional to limit campaign spending. An informed public is so necessary to a healthy democracy that the founding fathers regarded journalism as the "fourth estate" of government-- the first three being the executive, the legislative and the judicial. Why should speaking effectively to fellow citizens about something as fundamental and vital as elections require spending fortunes?

The airwaves, we too easily forget, are owned by the people. They are only leased to the corporations who run them. It would be in the public’s inerest for media leases to be granted on the condition that in the electoral season, free air time is available to any candidate who has a certain degree of public support, expressed via petition.


As a lawyer/blogger, I get
to be a member of:

In Vino Veritas

Lange, Pinot Gris 2015
Kiona, Lemberger 2014
Willamette Valley, Pinot Gris 2015
Aix, Rosé de Provence 2016
Marchigüe, Cabernet 2013
Inazío Irruzola, Getariako Txakolina Rosé 2015
Maso Canali, Pinot Grigio 2015
Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
Kirkland, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2016
Cantele, Salice Salentino Reserva 2013
Whispering Angel, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2013
Avissi, Prosecco
Cleto Charli, Lambrusco di Sorbara Secco, Vecchia Modena
Pique Poul, Rosé 2016
Edmunds St. John, Bone-Jolly Rosé 2016
Stoller, Pinot Noir Rosé 2016
Chehalem, Inox Chardonnay 2015
The Four Graces, Pinot Gris 2015
Gascón, Colosal Red 2013
Cardwell Hill, Pinot Gris 2015
L'Ecole No. 41, Merlot 2013
Della Terra, Anonymus
Willamette Valley, Dijon Clone Chardonnay 2013
Wraith, Cabernet, Eidolon Estate 2012
Januik, Red 2015
Tomassi, Valpolicella, Rafaél, 2014
Sharecropper's Pinot Noir 2013
Helix, Pomatia Red Blend 2013
La Espera, Cabernet 2011
Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
Villa Antinori, Toscana 2013
Locations, Spanish Red Wine
Locations, Argentinian Red Wine
La Antigua Clásico, Rioja 2011
Shatter, Grenache, Maury 2012
Argyle, Vintage Brut 2011
Abacela, Vintner's Blend #16 Abacela, Fiesta Tempranillo 2014
Benton Hill, Pinot Gris 2015
Primarius, Pinot Gris 2015
Januik, Merlot 2013
Napa Cellars, Cabernet 2013
J. Bookwalter, Protagonist 2012
LAN, Rioja Edicion Limitada 2011
Beaulieu, Cabernet, Rutherford 2009
Denada Cellars, Cabernet, Maipo Valley 2014
Marchigüe, Cabernet, Colchagua Valley 2013
Oberon, Cabernet 2014
Hedges, Red Mountain 2012
Balboa, Rose of Grenache 2015
Ontañón, Rioja Reserva 2015
Three Horse Ranch, Pinot Gris 2014
Archery Summit, Vireton Pinot Gris 2014
Nelms Road, Merlot 2013
Chateau Ste. Michelle, Pinot Gris 2014
Conn Creek, Cabernet, Napa 2012
Conn Creek, Cabernet, Napa 2013
Villa Maria, Sauvignon Blanc 2015
G3, Cabernet 2013
Chateau Smith, Cabernet, Washington State 2014
Abacela, Vintner's Blend #16
Willamette Valley, Rose of Pinot Noir, Whole Clusters 2015
Albero, Bobal Rose 2015
Ca' del Baio Barbaresco Valgrande 2012
Goodfellow, Reserve Pinot Gris, Clover 2014
Lugana, San Benedetto 2014
Wente, Cabernet, Charles Wetmore 2011
La Espera, Cabernet 2011
King Estate, Pinot Gris 2015
Adelsheim, Pinot Gris 2015
Trader Joe's, Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley 2015
La Vite Lucente, Toscana Red 2013
St. Francis, Cabernet, Sonoma 2013
Kendall-Jackson, Pinot Noir, California 2013
Beaulieu, Cabernet, Napa Valley 2013
Erath, Pinot Noir, Estate Selection 2012
Abbot's Table, Columbia Valley 2014
Intrinsic, Cabernet 2014
Oyster Bay, Pinot Noir 2010
Occhipinti, SP68 Bianco 2014
Layer Cake, Shiraz 2013
Desert Wind, Ruah 2011
WillaKenzie, Pinot Gris 2014
Abacela, Fiesta Tempranillo 2013
Des Amis, Rose 2014
Dunham, Trautina 2012
RoxyAnn, Claret 2012
Del Ri, Claret 2012
Stoppa, Emilia, Red 2004
Primarius, Pinot Noir 2013
Domaines Bunan, Bandol Rose 2015
Albero, Bobal Rose 2015
Deer Creek, Pinot Gris 2015
Beaulieu, Rutherford Cabernet 2013
Archery Summit, Vireton Pinot Gris 2014
King Estate, Pinot Gris, Backbone 2014
Oberon, Napa Cabernet 2013
Apaltagua, Envero Carmenere Gran Reserva 2013
Chateau des Arnauds, Cuvee des Capucins 2012
Nine Hats, Red 2013
Benziger, Cabernet, Sonoma 2012
Roxy Ann, Claret 2012
Januik, Merlot 2012
Conundrum, White 2013
St. Francis, Sonoma Cabernet 2012

The Occasional Book

Marc Maron - Waiting for the Punch
Phil Stanford - Rose City Vice
Kenneth R. Feinberg - What is Life Worth?
Kent Haruf - Our Souls at Night
Peter Carey - True History of the Kelly Gang
Suzanne Collins - The Hunger Games
Amy Stewart - Girl Waits With Gun
Philip Roth - The Plot Against America
Norm Macdonald - Based on a True Story
Christopher Buckley - Boomsday
Ryan Holiday - The Obstacle is the Way
Ruth Sepetys - Between Shades of Gray
Richard Adams - Watership Down
Claire Vaye Watkins - Gold Fame Citrus
Markus Zusak - I am the Messenger
Anthony Doerr - All the Light We Cannot See
James Joyce - Dubliners
Cheryl Strayed - Torch
William Golding - Lord of the Flies
Saul Bellow - Mister Sammler's Planet
Phil Stanford - White House Call Girl
John Kaplan & Jon R. Waltz - The Trial of Jack Ruby
Kent Haruf - Eventide
David Halberstam - Summer of '49
Norman Mailer - The Naked and the Dead
Maria Dermoȗt - The Ten Thousand Things
William Faulkner - As I Lay Dying
Markus Zusak - The Book Thief
Christopher Buckley - Thank You for Smoking
William Shakespeare - Othello
Joseph Conrad - Heart of Darkness
Bill Bryson - A Short History of Nearly Everything
Cheryl Strayed - Tiny Beautiful Things
Sara Varon - Bake Sale
Stephen King - 11/22/63
Paul Goldstein - Errors and Omissions
Mark Twain - A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
Steve Martin - Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life
Beverly Cleary - A Girl from Yamhill, a Memoir
Kent Haruf - Plainsong
Hope Larson - A Wrinkle in Time, the Graphic Novel
Rudyard Kipling - Kim
Peter Ames Carlin - Bruce
Fran Cannon Slayton - When the Whistle Blows
Neil Young - Waging Heavy Peace
Mark Bego - Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul (2012 ed.)
Jenny Lawson - Let's Pretend This Never Happened
J.D. Salinger - Franny and Zooey
Charles Dickens - A Christmas Carol
Timothy Egan - The Big Burn
Deborah Eisenberg - Transactions in a Foreign Currency
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. - Slaughterhouse Five
Kathryn Lance - Pandora's Genes
Cheryl Strayed - Wild
Fyodor Dostoyevsky - The Brothers Karamazov
Jack London - The House of Pride, and Other Tales of Hawaii
Jack Walker - The Extraordinary Rendition of Vincent Dellamaria
Colum McCann - Let the Great World Spin
Niccolò Machiavelli - The Prince
Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird
Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus - The Nanny Diaries
Brian Selznick - The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Sharon Creech - Walk Two Moons
Keith Richards - Life
F. Sionil Jose - Dusk
Natalie Babbitt - Tuck Everlasting
Justin Halpern - S#*t My Dad Says
Mark Herrmann - The Curmudgeon's Guide to Practicing Law
Barry Glassner - The Gospel of Food
Phil Stanford - The Peyton-Allan Files
Jesse Katz - The Opposite Field
Evelyn Waugh - Brideshead Revisited
J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
David Sedaris - Holidays on Ice
Donald Miller - A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
Mitch Albom - Have a Little Faith
C.S. Lewis - The Magician's Nephew
F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby
William Shakespeare - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Ivan Doig - Bucking the Sun
Penda Diakité - I Lost My Tooth in Africa
Grace Lin - The Year of the Rat
Oscar Hijuelos - Mr. Ives' Christmas
Madeline L'Engle - A Wrinkle in Time
Steven Hart - The Last Three Miles
David Sedaris - Me Talk Pretty One Day
Karen Armstrong - The Spiral Staircase
Charles Larson - The Portland Murders
Adrian Wojnarowski - The Miracle of St. Anthony
William H. Colby - Long Goodbye
Steven D. Stark - Meet the Beatles
Phil Stanford - Portland Confidential
Rick Moody - Garden State
Jonathan Schwartz - All in Good Time
David Sedaris - Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Anthony Holden - Big Deal
Robert J. Spitzer - The Spirit of Leadership
James McManus - Positively Fifth Street
Jeff Noon - Vurt

Road Work

Miles run year to date: 5
At this date last year: 3
Total run in 2017: 113
In 2016: 155
In 2015: 271
In 2014: 401
In 2013: 257
In 2012: 129
In 2011: 113
In 2010: 125
In 2009: 67
In 2008: 28
In 2007: 113
In 2006: 100
In 2005: 149
In 2004: 204
In 2003: 269

Clicky Web Analytics