by Trey Rentz, Tue Nov 16, 2010 at 07:59:49 AM EST
A few days ago I used Craigslist to try to look for a used laptop. I noticed serious changes.
And some of the changes might be a precursor of things to come. I think the last big supreme court ruling, the one that allows corporations to be treated like human beings - might have been a mistake.
In the case of Craigslist, I was always happy to deal with people. Craigslist was a place where people in my local area would put things up for sale, and I could go there to buy them. Craigslist classified ads used to be about people dropping things they didn't want. It was a totally cool place to hunt for things.
But what happens when companies try to pass themselves off as people. Really screwed things up. Not unusuable, mind you. But enough to make me wonder.
This time around, in my hunt for a laptop - there were alot of businesses there on Craigslist - pretending to be people. I mean, really pretending. They wouldn't say the name of their business - they wouldn't say that they have a permanent business address - they simply posted as if they were a person. And then they worded their post as if they were a person. When you ask them if they're a business, sometimes they're evasive. Does this remind you of anything? How about the last campaign cycle where all that money was hidden?
And God. How they spam things up. It wasn't just one or two ads that they posted. They posted the same things over and over and over again. Gumming up the entire website.
This gets at something we saw earlier this year. We had the largest amount of money ever spent, in the history of the United States - and 85% of this lobbyist money was spent on the Republican party. Try to get your mind around this concept: 4 billion dollars were spent in less than 5 months. The republican take, 85% of it, was nearly 19 million dollars a day. That's almost a million dollars an hour.
And what were they doing? Well, in my state they were pretending to be a candidate. They would 'help out' the republicans in my district . They would 'speak for' the candidate, and bring up 'issues that needed to be discussed'. They were masquerading as a human being.
That is precisely what the last supreme court ruling allows. Corporations can pretend to be human beings. That's the gist of it.
The ruling was Citizens United vs. The Federal Election Commission. And it overturned two major precedents in first amendement speech. It was and is radical doctrine: corporations are human beings. This is what our president said about the ruling:
“(This ruling is )a major victory for big oil, Wall Street banks, health insurance companies and the other powerful interests that marshal their power every day in Washington to drown out the voices of everyday Americans.”
I think I'm beginning to see the full extent of this ruling. In the last election, it brings massive amounts of lobbyist money to the table. Because since corporations are human beings, corporate speech has the same first amendment protections. Right? But isn't this supposed to apply to human beings? It should.
But the differences between corporations and human beings define a very serious boundary.
Unlike human beings, corporations are entities composed of multiple people. Their goal is not to simply communicate with you but to influence you. The internal structures of corporations are not democracy - but a kind of dictatorship. And they operate in multiple countries.
Corporations have vested interest in destroying forums of free speech. Craigslist, for example, is a thorn in the side of certain companies who produce print classified advertising. Other companies - specifically companies that relate to my situation - produce goods and products that are undercut by the craigslist classified advertising. Laptop resellers, for instance, enjoyed a certain margin of profit that did not exist on Craigslist. And so when they overpost in Craigslist, they drown out the real ads - and they proceed to limit a person's ability to be heard. A real person, unlike a company - has only one identity. A corporation utilizes multiple identities. Multiple accounts. And comes at the forum from all sides. Spamming it up. Destroying it.
The majority wrote :
When government seeks to use its full power, including the criminal law, to command where a person may get his or her information or what distrusted source he or she may not hear, it uses censorship to control thought.
But what about when the government, uses its power to help us to identify ourselves? Passports, for example. We're getting our source of information from a trusted source - so we can travel from place to place. That information validates who we are and what we're trying to do. What if the data feed to Customs and Immigration were outsourced , and we had to rely upon the credit reporting agencies to pass us through the gate? The government certainly uses its power to command where a person may get his or her information at that point. Why not on the net, where we need it?
It seems to me that the fundamental issue of spam, on the net - has to do with the fact that corporations and companies can pretend to be people.
I never could find a decent laptop on CL that day. I used to be able to find one in ten minutes. I'm going to go back. And fight my way through.
But I'm starting to see changes in our country and online. It is my belief that corporations - non democratic multiple person, multinational entities. Should not be given the rights and privilege equal to a voting , United States citizen.
Unless of course, they are a sole proprietorship. And even then, I feel they should self identify. There was a guy operating out of his basement, selling laptops. I wouldn't have had a problem buying from him. As long as he says he's a business and not just a guy living at that address who "has an extra laptop".
Ok, am I going over the top here? I really see a problem with this concept that citizens and "associations of citizens" are the same thing as corporate entities. I mean, should facebook be allowed the same rights as a person who is your friend - to be able to farm out any of your facebook info and sell it off? Should companies trying to keep people off craigslist, have the right to do toxic overposting and spam up the entire forum?
What about here? Should companies that pay people to post advertisements and pass them off as diaries, have the right to come to myDD and spam this place up?
Shamelessly self promote your own diary, corporation or pimp for a friend in this diary post. I'd love to hear what you have to say.
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