The Colbert Report

Season 5 Episode 117

Christiane Amanpour

Aired Weekdays 11:30 PM Sep 15, 2009 on Comedy Central
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Christiane Amanpour
Tonight Stephen welcomes CNN anchor Christiane Amanpour. Also, Stephen talks with CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin.
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      • Stephen: Now hopefully their mistreatment may soon come to an end, which brings us to tonight's Word: Let Freedom Ka-Ching. Last week the Supreme Court heard arguments of the tragic fate of a great film, 2008's Hillary: The Movie. Jim?

        [Video: Man: She is steeped in controversy, steeped in sleeze…
        Dick Morris: She's deceitful, she'll make up any story, lie about anything…]

        Stephen: It's true, I've even heard her say that Dick Morris was once her friend. Hillary: The Movie never aired because a court ruled it was a political ad funded by corporations and therefore illegal under campaign finance laws. (Which they'd said that about Transformers 2) So instead of sinking the Clinton campaign, these filmmakers had to watch at honor go to someone else. (The Clinton campaign) This case, Citizens United vs The Federal Elections Commission will decide whether the framers of the Constitution intended for corporations to have a roll in our electoral process. (Other than building Mitt Romney) I say of course they did, they were obviously dreaming of a future where instead of serving a king, our leaders can serve Burger King. Mmmmm, flame broiled taste and a sesame seed bun? Now that's what I call a more perfect union. (We hold that pandering to be self-evident) Now laws regulating corporate contributions go back to the 1907 Tillman Act, when American thought corporate money was buying elections thanks in part to Theodore Roosevelt's campaign slogan: Walk softly and carry a Futterman's striped bathing costume. When you think comfort, think Futterman's.

        But this is really about the 1886 Supreme Court case Santa Clara v Southern Pacific Railroad which ruled that corporations have the same protection under the 14th Amendment as people. (Plus: Casual Fridays!) Though actually, the 1886 Court refused to rule on that specific issue, but when the Chief Justice made an off the record comment to that effect, the court reporter wrote it down and it's been sited ever since. It was a huge win for the railroads and a brilliant judicial decision by the court reporter, whose previous job experience was being the president of a railroad. (Kismet!) So, corporation are legally people, and it makes sense folks, they do everything people do except breathe, die and go to jail for dumping 1.3 million pounds of PCBs into the Hudson River. (GE – We bring bad things to fish) And as people corporations have certain inalienable rights. Attorney Ted Olson said it in last week's arguments.

        [Audio: Ted Olson: ….corporations are persons entitled to protection under the first amendment.]

        Stephen: "Under the First Amendment." That means corporations have free speech, but they can't speak like you or me, they don't have mouths or hands. (Just a giant middle finger) Instead they must speak with the only way they can, (Through cartoon geckos?) through billions and billions of dollars. Now in 1976 the Supreme Court ruled that money is speech, (Bill Gates- Speechiest man in the world) therefore since corporations are people, and people have the right of free speech, and money is speech, corporations have the right to give unlimited amounts of money to political candidates, QED, which thanks to a donation a recently received from Krispy Kreme, stands for Quick, Eat Donuts! (Hopefully received donation from Lipitor) In light of this exciting, impending decision, I say we return to the paper ballot. [Pulls out dollar bill] This kind. You just right the name of your candidate on your greenback like this: President Taylor Swift. One dollar gives your candidate one vote, twenty dollars gives your candidate twenty votes and 10 million dollar cashiers check from Exxon gives your candidate much better idea of where he stands on drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. (On a caribou's balls)

        But we can't stop with just freedom of speech, we must endow the corporations with all the freedoms we flesh and blood people have been hogging for too long. For instance the right to bear arms, how great would it be if Kraft had guns and they could just shoot cheese down our throats. (Too late [Easy Cheese]) And if corporations are people, why can't we just cut out the middleman and elect President Microsoft Office assistant Clippy? Yes folks, the Court is on the verge of unregulating corporate money and that is great news, because if we give corporations all the rights of people, our government can truly claim it's by the people, for the people and of the people. (Let freedom ka-ching)

        And that's the Word.

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