Leverage against corporate personhood?

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mstaggerlee
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I think I may have found a case that could possibly be brought to court by the proper group of individuals that could provide some leverage against the doctrine of corporate personhood.  It's a bit complex, and I'm not sure I have all the bases covered, so read on and see if you can find a hole in my logic, and let's see if we can find ways to fix the problems we find here.  I think this may have some potential.

Lets assume that we are members of a corporate board of directors.  We show up to a board meeting one day, and discover that our company has been acquired via hostile takeover - a hedge fund now owns 60% of our company stock.  Oh, and by the way, the fund had to borrow a billion dollars to acquire all that stock, and job one for our company NOW, accortding to our new owners, is to repay that loan, because the hedge fund assigned that debt to the company.  This scenario has, of course, been replayed dozens, if not hundreds, of times over the past decade or so.

Now, it seems to me that, according to the Conservative interpretation of the 14th amendment, if the company is a PERSON, with all the rights attendant thereto, then the Hedge fund has certainly violated the rights of this corporate person.  This (artificial) person has been PURCHASED and ENSLAVED by the hedge fund.

The Conservatives can't have it both ways.  If the corporation can legally be purchased and forced to perform work to repay a debt incurred by the purchasor, and this is somehow NOT considered slavery, then the corporation is chattel (or perhaps real property), and NOT a person of any kind.  If, on the other hand, the corporation is an artificial person, with constitutional rights, then it has an inalienable right to liberty, it cannot be purchased and therefore cannot be forced to do any kind of work to pay off any debts that it did not incur. Any attempt to impose such obligations is a violation of the constitutional rights of the artificial corporate person, and the original board of directors should be able to take the hedge fund to court, and sue for said violation.

What am I missing here, gang?  Think we might be able to find a group that the above happened to, who might be willing to bring this kind of a suit?  Comments, please.

Comments

Paleo-con
I believe what your missing

I believe what your missing is the "the hedge fund assigned that debt to the company" at the begining.  I would love to assign dept to someone else.  How is this done, or can it be done?  As far as I can remember, the entity that takes out the loan is responsable for paying it back.

polycarp2
Just assign the debt  that

Just assign the debt  that you borrowed to aquire the company to the company. Rob the pension funds, sell off the assets, and vote yourself a hefty bonus for your troubles. It's done all the time.

You'll leave with your loot...debt free. The "person" we call a corporation is conveniently disapeared to pay off your debt.

It's called  capital accumulation...by destroying real capital. and driving pensioners into destitution. LOL..

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

mstaggerlee
mstaggerlee's picture
@paleo-con - That ain't the

@paleo-con - That ain't the part I need (or asked for) help with - I quite honestly don't know HOW that gets done, legally speaking, I only know that it HAS BEEN done, and is probably being done somewhere RIGHT NOW!.

What I wanna know is if the Do-ers are violating the constitutional rights of the artificial person WHEN they do it.

Paleo-con
Well, if the assigning of

Well, if the assigning of dept can't be done, then the rest doesn't matter.  The whole question is based on what happens after the dept is assigned; hardly a trivial point.  I have been in business for a long time and I have never heard of such a thing.  Since I don't know for sure, I asked my accountant if she heard of it.  She said that technically, there is no such thing.  The assigning of dept can be done all day long within a corporation, but not between coprorations.  Therefore, the hedge fund cannot simply buy the company, they actually have to merge with it in order for the target company to acquire the dept.  Of course, even if they simply own the corporation, they are free to dismember it and sell its assets to pay off their own billion dollar dept and perhaps make a profit; that is certainly done all the time.  The asset pieces of a corporation are often worth more than the whole.

mstaggerlee
mstaggerlee's picture
@Paleo-con, re: The asset

@Paleo-con, re: The asset pieces of a corporation are often worth more than the whole.

I think that is a VERY short-sighted view.  Certainly, if I'm not looking beyond the next tax (or perhaps dividend) period, it might really be that the fastest way to turn SOME profit on the purchase of a productive company (which actually makes and sells products, i. e., produces VALUE), is to disembowel it and sell off the machinery, the buildings, etc.

Over the long haul, though, it's possible that one could make more by just letting the company do what it's always done, and continue to create value.  Obviously, this course of action does far less harm to the workers, and the community in which the original company existed.  (Not that the hedge fund guys give a crap about harming anyone who isn't themselves.)

Still not hearing any responses about the enslaved corporo-person's alleged rights.  This was supposed to be a constitutional question, not an economic one.

Paleo-con
Okay then.  They would not

Okay then.  They would not really be enslaved as they are free to go on their way, they would be indentured; and that does not violate any human rights.

DRC
DRC's picture
Yes, indentured servitude is

Yes, indentured servitude is the Corporate American Dream for the rest of us.  It was how the credit cards worked.  "Free to go on their way," not quite.  The mortgage and bankruptcy laws apply to the poor while the rich are given a pass again and again and over and over.  What a pile of crap you endorse!

Vonstrohm
Vonstrohm's picture
"Corporate personhood" is not

"Corporate personhood" is not what Citizens United was about. It was about whether or not organizations of people can be denied freedom of speech.

Kerry
Kerry's picture
Citizens United vs. Federal

Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission didn't address 'corporate personhood' in a specific manner, however it did remove what was left of the restrictions corporations had in directly influencing politics.  Here's Wikipedia's discussion on it:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizens_United_v._Federal_Election_Commission

There were a lot of precedence in court cases against this decision--and coming from a court that was supposedly claimed to NOT have the judicial branch 'make up law' in their decisions, this smacks of disingenuity.    

From the Wikipedia article: President Barack Obama stated that the decision "gives the special interests and their lobbyists even more power in Washington — while undermining the influence of average Americans who make small contributions to support their preferred candidates."  The founding fathers knew that two things would undermine the American republic--'mob rule' and 'control by factions'.   They knew that church could be a factious issue--corporations can have that same type of factious influence--and has done so in the past.   To say 'that's OK now' ignores that component in history of the corporate inappropriately tampering with the democratic process....

mstaggerlee
mstaggerlee's picture
@Vonstrohm  - What makes you

@Vonstrohm  - What makes you think I'm talking about Citizen's United V. FEC?  Did I, or anyone else who wrote here before you, even MENTION that miserable decision?

Corporate Personhood predated CU v FEC by about 120 years.  All the recent decision did was remove the upper limits on what a person of ANY kind (natural or artificial) can donate to a political candidate.  It goes all the way back to the 1886 SCOTUS case Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad.  Apparently, it became settled law NOT because of anything any of the Justices on the court wrote or even had entered into the record in regard to the specifics of the case (in fact, they decided NOT TO RULE, saying state law covered the matter), but because of something that Chief Justice Waite said to his clerk to the effect that all of the justices shared the opinion that the 14th amendment applies to corporations.  I'm not really sure how or when it was "decided" that the 1st amendment applies as well, but if one accepts that the 14th applies, the 1st is not a great leap.

And, of course, if you happen to be a corporation, then $ = Speech, because if you work in DC, nothing talks louder than money!

mstaggerlee
mstaggerlee's picture
@Paleo-con - who's free to go

@Paleo-con - who's free to go where?  You're talking about PEOPLE again.  People mean NOTHING in this conversation, except in that they can represent the Corporation.  The Board members are not enslaved or indentured, and you are absolutely right about them - they are free to go anywhere they like.  But the poor, hostily-acquired Corpo-person is!  A corporation can't walk, drive or fly away from those who've bought it.  The corporation has no legs - only MONEY, ASSETS and (apparently) RIGHTS, and I contend that the Corpo-person's 14th amendment rights have been violated in this scenario.

Paleo-con
mstaggerlee, Here lies the

mstaggerlee, Here lies the basic problem with the theory.  People have everything to do with this conversation.  What is a corporation?  It is a collection of living, breathing, and yes, vocal people that are indeed free to go where they wish.  The hostile hedge fund in question has absolutely no ability to stop the people in the acquired corporation from walking.  At that point all the hedge fund owns is a piece of paper (the corporate charter), the corporation's capital assets, and a billion dollar dept.  Now they have two choices, sell the assets to recover the dept, or hurry up and hire all new people that want to run a bankrupt company.  Which of the two is more likely?

mstaggerlee
mstaggerlee's picture
@Paleo-Con - Sorry for the

@Paleo-Con - Sorry for the delayed reply - been away for a while.

1) PLEASE learn how to spell deBt! - dept is the abbreviation for department, and the keys b and p are sufficiently far apart on a keyboard that it can't be a typo.

2) Answer one simple question for me - do you believe that a Corporation SHOULD have rights of it's own under the US Constitutiution?  I ask because throughout this discussion, which is about a violation of the (alleged) rights of the Corporation, YOU keep bringing the discussion back to the rights of the PEOPLE who comprise the Corporation.  I'm talkin' oranges, and you keep comin' back with apples.

Mr.Burns
Mr.Burns's picture
So organizations of

So organizations of individuals should not have constitutional rights?

Art
Art's picture
Quote:So organizations of

Quote:
So organizations of individuals should not have constitutional rights?
No. Why should they?

Openminded neocon
Openminded neocon's picture
Here is the problem with your

Here is the problem with your scenario-

A hedge fund cannot assign debt to a corporation it does not own or control.  But a hedge fund can buy a corporation, at which time it owns and controls the corporation and can legally and contractually obligate the corporation to incur debt and become responsible for repaying the debt.  In a hostile takeover, these two events (i.e. purchase of the corporation and incurrence of debt) may occur simultaneously, but it is never the case that a corporation is "assigned debt" prior to another entity controlling the corporation.  So it is not possible for a corporation to become responsible for debt without the person(s) controlling the corporation willingly agreeing to the transaction.  So there is no involuntary servitude involved.

Now if you want to argue that a person (corporation) should not be able to be purchased, maybe you do have an argument.

Mr.Burns
Mr.Burns's picture
Art wrote: Quote:So

Art wrote:

Quote:
So organizations of individuals should not have constitutional rights?
No. Why should they?

So Bush could have decided that the Sierra Club is an enemy of the state and confiscate all their assets and they would have no recourse?

Art
Art's picture
the members of the Sierra

the members of the Sierra Club would still have the right of association. Bush would have violated that right. 

Mr.Burns
Mr.Burns's picture
Art wrote: the members of the

Art wrote:

the members of the Sierra Club would still have the right of association. Bush would have violated that right. 

Would not the same thing apply to other corporations then? Are not corporations composed of individual shareholders and employees?

Art
Art's picture
No, for Corporations. Yes,

No, for Corporations. Yes, for individual shareholders and employees. Corporations should not be entitled to a right of association. 

The right to associate does not equal the right to do business under the cloak of incorporation. That is drawn out in the charter, and charters can be revoked. 

Paleo-con
Art, I find your position

Art, I find your position confusing.  In a corporation, which is an association of people, those people must surrender their rights.  Yet somehow, the people in the Sierra Club, which is a corporation, do not have to surrender their rights.  Who gets to pick which corporations keep their rights and which lose them?

Art
Art's picture
Every individual natural

Every individual natural person gets to pick which organization gets to usurp his rights. An individual natural person can chose whether to associate with an organization that does so. Some organizations will usurp your rights, others will not. Additionally, every adult individual natural person has the right to make a contract. He can choose to surrender his "rights" in order to be a part of an organization in return for money. If he does not wish to belong to such an entity, he can live on Walden Pond and sell hand-made leather belts for a living. What is the source of your confusion? 

Paleo-con
mstaggerlee wrote: @Paleo-Con

mstaggerlee wrote:

@Paleo-Con - Sorry for the delayed reply - been away for a while.

1) PLEASE learn how to spell deBt! - dept is the abbreviation for department, and the keys b and p are sufficiently far apart on a keyboard that it can't be a typo.

Will do, but then you will need to learn to spell Constitution, and the proper use of “it’s”.  Sorry, I couldn’t resist the dig.  I am very guilty of not paying attention to grammar or spelling in here; I will strive to do better.

mstaggerlee wrote:

2) Answer one simple question for me - do you believe that a Corporation SHOULD have rights of it's own under the US Constitutiution?  I ask because throughout this discussion, which is about a violation of the (alleged) rights of the Corporation, YOU keep bringing the discussion back to the rights of the PEOPLE who comprise the Corporation.  I'm talkin' oranges, and you keep comin' back with apples.

Perhaps it is not a simple question.  Corporations are people.  A corporation is not a separate entity from the people that make it.  Therefore, violating the rights of a corporation is violating the rights of the people; they are the same.  I do see your premise, I think.  It looks like you would like to position a corporation as not being an association of people; sort of like separating a spirit from a body.  To that end, if we redefine the word corporation, then no, that spirit would not have its own rights.

Paleo-con
Art wrote: Every individual

Art wrote:

Every individual natural person gets to pick which organization gets to usurp his rights. An individual natural person can chose whether to associate with an organization that does so. Some organizations will usurp your rights, others will not. Additionally, every adult individual natural person has the right to make a contract. He can choose to surrender his "rights" in order to be a part of an organization in return for money. If he does not wish to belong to such an entity, he can live on Walden Pond and sell hand-made leather belts for a living. What is the source of your confusion? 

That settles it, I am confused.  I don't really have an issue with anything you said.  Unfortunately, I thought we were talking specifically about the Federal Government usurping 1st Amendment rights of citizens associated in a corporation.

Art
Art's picture
Quote:I thought we were

Quote:
I thought we were talking specifically about the Federal Government usurping 1st Amendment rights of citizens associated in a corporation
I wasn't really interested in the discussion of the assigning of debt. I was reacting to your question
Quote:
So organizations of individuals should not have constitutional rights?
Your arguments seem to assume that corporations are equivalent to natural persons just because this Supreme Court was so eager to say so. This is a notion that I reject.
Quote:
A corporation is not a separate entity from the people that make it.  Therefore, violating the rights of a corporation is violating the rights of the people; they are the same.
When I joined the military, I made a contract with the US Government to surrender many of my individual rights. One could certainly not consider the US Government to be the equivalent of a natural person, and one could only consider me to be a separate and distinct individual contractor, as is every employed individual. 

This touches on another issue that intrigues me. An employer does not, and cannot "own" its employees. This would be slavery. Employers can only rent or lease their employees. This relationship, by necessity, renders the employees to be separate and distinct entities from the organization.

meljomur
meljomur's picture
Art, I think you have pretty

Art, I think you have pretty much gotten to the root of the issue.

Conservatives like and trust corporations (Daddy figure).  So therefore it is better to have them given "human" attributes.

Conservatives hate and distrust government.  So therefore it is better to think of them as some massive entity which they can shrink and drown in the bathtub.

Obviously, both entitites are composed of individual people.  So why should corporations be given different attributes (rights) than the US government?

I really love how progressives are able to see these scenarios so clearly. 

Paleo-con
Art wrote: I wasn't really

Art wrote:

I wasn't really interested in the discussion of the assigning of debt. I was reacting to your question.

I wasn't really talking about assigning debt.  I was reacting to your question.  Perhaps we are stuck in a loop looking past each others question?

Quote:
Your arguments seem to assume that corporations are equivalent to natural persons just because this Supreme Court was so eager to say so. This is a notion that I reject.

Ah!  Here seems to be a sticking point.  Corporations are made of natural persons.  A corporation is an association of natural persons.  The Supreme Court said natural persons do not lose their right to free speech just because of who they associate with.  Look at it his way.  If Tim is a natural person, then Tim has protected political speech.  If Tim, Mary, Tom, and Jane form an association, Tim does not lose his protected political speech.  It has been a while since I read the ruling, but it follows the “Tim” example above.  I am wide open to going back and reading the Citizens United case again if you can show me where it says anything about making a corporation a natural person.  From what I recall, it only addresses a person’s right to maintain political speech rights regardless of association.

Quote:
This touches on another issue that intrigues me. An employer does not, and cannot "own" its employees. This would be slavery. Employers can only rent or lease their employees. This relationship, by necessity, renders the employees to be separate and distinct entities from the organization.

I don't think people can be rented or leased either.  I'll admit up front that I don't know the legal ramifications of renting a person, so I stand here ready to be corrected.  I am pretty sure it is a person’s service that is being exchanged, not the person.  Based on that services theory, employees are indeed separate and distinct entities, but they are still representatives of the organization.  I would say that in order to not be a representative, one must be a contractor rather than an employee.  A contractor delivers a product or service, takes the money, then leaves to do the same for some other organization.  An employee draws a paycheck, and wears a logo.

Art
Art's picture
Quote:Perhaps we are stuck in

Quote:
Perhaps we are stuck in a loop looking past each others question?
This is what happens when I jump into the middle of a thread without really looking to see what the thread is about. 

This is going to take some time for me to read and absorb the opinions from Citizens United and Buckley v Valeo.

Mr.Burns
Mr.Burns's picture
Art wrote:Your arguments seem

Art wrote:
Your arguments seem to assume that corporations are equivalent to natural persons just because this Supreme Court was so eager to say so. This is a notion that I reject.

So groups of people do not have constitutional rights? For instance if the Sierra Club want to put out a mailing that says Congressman "Jones" is weak on environmental issues the government can pass a law stopping them from doing so and this would not be unconstitutional?

Mr.Burns
Mr.Burns's picture
meljomur wrote: Art, I think

meljomur wrote:

Art, I think you have pretty much gotten to the root of the issue.

Conservatives like and trust corporations (Daddy figure).  So therefore it is better to have them given "human" attributes.

Conservatives hate and distrust government.  So therefore it is better to think of them as some massive entity which they can shrink and drown in the bathtub.

Obviously, both entitites are composed of individual people.  So why should corporations be given different attributes (rights) than the US government?

I really love how progressives are able to see these scenarios so clearly. 

That is not an accurate description of conservative beliefs.

The difference between government and private corporations is that government is inherently empowered to force its will upon us. If I don't like a corporations product or the way they run their business I can choose not deal with that corporation. If I do not like the way the government is doing things I cannot choose to not pay taxes. If I act in a manner that the government deems wrong they have the power to imprison me or confiscate my assets under threat of imprisonment.

While it is obviously necessary for government to have that these powers it is just a necessary for citizens to stand up to an overly intrusive government. That is not to say that all Corporations are good and all government functions are bad.  

Art
Art's picture
I'm only now beginning to

I'm only now beginning to explore these Supreme Court opinions. On first blush, I think perhaps the real crime to humanity here is Buckley v Valeo. Can't sy much more than that right now.

Art
Art's picture
Quote:The Supreme Court said

Quote:
The Supreme Court said natural persons do not lose their right to free speech just because of who they associate with
Quite true, but way off point. I see no way that election laws have violated the free speech laws of any of those individual natural persons. Each and every one of those natural persons are free to scream at the top of their lungs from their windows about who should win an election - Even on election day.
Quote:
if the Sierra Club want to put out a mailing that says Congressman "Jones" is weak on environmental issues the government can pass a law stopping them from doing so and this would not be unconstitutional?
Unless I am mistaken, the Sierra club has been governed by the same election laws as any corporate-funded PAC.

 

Paleo-con
Art wrote: Quite true, but

Art wrote:

Quite true, but way off point. I see no way that election laws have violated the free speech laws of any of those individual natural persons. Each and every one of those natural persons are free to scream at the top of their lungs from their windows about who should win an election - Even on election day

I believe I was on point.  We have total agreement when discussing the individual as you did above.  Whereas the individual did not lose any rights acting on his or her own, the individual did lose his or her rights when joined at the hypothetical window by others in their association.  The Court simply said that it matters not if a person screams individually or with others; they are still allowed to scream.

BTW, I think we took this thread off topic.  My apologies to the moderators.  Art brings up some interesting and challenging points and I enjoyed investigating them.

Art
Art's picture
We're really getting into the

We're really getting into the weeds here, I kinda like that stuff.

So, when when Joe and his friends join together to scream out the window, are we hearing this message from Joe, Bill, Wendy, Biff and Myrtle, or are we hearing this message from Window-6th floor-4th from the left? Or, more cogently, are we hearing this message from 3524 NW Madison Ave? The messenger enjoys a considerable advantage when he uses the platform of an entire building, even though it is still coming from  Joe, Bill, Wendy, Biff and Myrtle. Seems pretty unfair to me.

DRC
DRC's picture
Paleo, I think your basic

Paleo, I think your basic confusion is in the identification of the "corporation" with the people who are invested/employed in it.  A corporation is a legally chartered institution of Commerce.  Commerce is regulated and framed by the State, and the corporation is the creature of the State.

As an association of people with a common interest, it is still an economic institution rather than a person.  The Supremes are out of their minds on this issue, and they serve autocratic power very slavishly as we see in their incoherent and activist opinions.  

The clearest problem with the personhood image is that the "corporate person" evades the personal in the use of its revenue stream in civil life.  It belongs in the confines of Commerce, not in the civic processes of elections.  Those individuals who profit from the corporation are free to "unite" their personal fortunes for political speech, although I find the imbalance of speech a huge contradiction to this idea.  

I think there is a clear distinction between advocacy agencies and other institutions where citizens pool their resources for a social purpose and those of Commerce.  As long as money pollutes the process, there will always be advocacy "non-profits" pushing policies that will enrich their members.  But there are far more giving voice to causes that do not have direct commercial interests involved.  Putting one's money into a cause of public policy is appropriate political action.  Putting one's money into candidates and policies that make the corporation rich is not.  That is an investment, not a contribution.  It is usually a dirt cheap investment in a big time payoff.  Citizens do not have that option in their public advocacy.

Citizens United is a terrible thing, but it is not the stand alone tumor in this cancerous economic disaster.  Commerce Uber Alles is a soulless hell.

Mr.Burns
Mr.Burns's picture
Art wrote: Unless I am

Art wrote:
Unless I am mistaken, the Sierra club has been governed by the same election laws as any corporate-funded PAC.

Laws that were written under the notion that there are free speech issues involved. If the Sierra Club no longer has a constitutional right to due process can not then a President simply order them shut down if they issue criticism of him or even on a whim?

DRC
DRC's picture
Corporate personhood is not

Corporate personhood is not necessary for due process regarding real free speech.  And no, unless you accept the Empire, the Patriot Act and the symbolic status of the  Constitution, no President can just shut down an organization.  It did not take a President to trash ACORN, so why worry about silly stuff when there is real stuff going on?

Paleo-con
DRC, I see where you are

DRC, I see where you are getting lost.  A corporate charter is a legal device that describes an association of people.  A corporation is the association of natural people whether or not they engage in commerce.  For instance, the Sierra Club has been brought up in this thread.  The Sierra Club is a corporation, but they are not chartered for commerce, they are a chartered land preservation association.

And here is another place you seem to be lost.  A corporation is not a person, it is people.  The Supreme Court did not make corporations a person, that is nothing more than a left wing talking point with no basis in reality.  If you would take just a few minutes to read the ruling (it is short), you will see that it only says the people in a corporation do not lose the right to free speech because of their association.  Everything past that is pure straw man.

Mr.Burns
Mr.Burns's picture
DRC wrote:Corporate

DRC wrote:
Corporate personhood is not necessary for due process regarding real free speech.  And no, unless you accept the Empire, the Patriot Act and the symbolic status of the  Constitution, no President can just shut down an organization.  It did not take a President to trash ACORN, so why worry about silly stuff when there is real stuff going on?

I think you are taking the term "corporate person hood" too literal.

The question is whether or not the way government treats associations of people falls under the same constitutional restrictions as they treat individuals.  

DRC
DRC's picture
The error is to assign their

The error is to assign their free speech rights as individuals, even as a group, to the commercial unit instead of making them form an advocacy association where their personal incomes are the funds identified as "speech."  I have made the point that the corporate charter does frame the purpose and the obligations of the people who act within it.  The Sierra Club is not a commercial entity even if it is a corporation.  It is a financial entity designed to make political contributions have a collective focus and effect.  

The revenue producing corporation is not a separate person above and beyond the individual people who form it for commercial purposes.  This absurdity mistakes the individuals and their rights to use their personal resources in politics for the ability of business to make business deals through the means of election campaigns.  This gives these individuals a free pass to spend far more than their personal money or the collected funds of any advocacy group.

I believe that I have the problem well framed, and that it is not about the personal and civil rights of the people engaged in commerce through a corporation to ban the commercial revenue stream from political speech.

Mr.Burns
Mr.Burns's picture
It seems to me what you are

It seems to me what you are arguing for is using the power of government to shut down political speech you do not like.

That is why we have the first amendment.

Paleo-con
Art wrote: We're really

Art wrote:

We're really getting into the weeds here, I kinda like that stuff.

So, when when Joe and his friends join together to scream out the window, are we hearing this message from Joe, Bill, Wendy, Biff and Myrtle, or are we hearing this message from Window-6th floor-4th from the left? Or, more cogently, are we hearing this message from 3524 NW Madison Ave? The messenger enjoys a considerable advantage when he uses the platform of an entire building, even though it is still coming from  Joe, Bill, Wendy, Biff and Myrtle. Seems pretty unfair to me.

I think you managed to get right to where the fork in the road is.  If one believes, like I and the Court do, that they are still Joe and friends, then one weigh the fairness on the right scale.  If one believes that Joe and friends are no longer people, but a building, then one will weigh the fairness on the left scale.

Is it unfair that Joe and friends are louder than a single individual?  Is it unfair when the single individual wants to talk, Joe and friends must shut up?  As always "fair" is in the eye of the beholder.  Since we have the freedom of association, I lean more towards allowing Tim and friend to make noise.  The individual is still free to associate with a louder group or get a bull horn.

Mr.Burns
Mr.Burns's picture
DRC wrote:   The Sierra Club

DRC wrote:

  The Sierra Club is not a commercial entity even if it is a corporation.  It is a financial entity designed to make political contributions have a collective focus and effect.  

The revenue producing corporation is not a separate person above and beyond the individual people who form it for commercial purposes.  This absurdity mistakes the individuals and their rights to use their personal resources in politics for the ability of business to make business deals through the means of election campaigns.  This gives these individuals a free pass to spend far more than their personal money or the collected funds of any advocacy group.

So the constitution protects political speech from nonprofit corporations but not for for profit corporations?

 

DRC
DRC's picture
Did you read the post?  The

Did you read the post?  The point made is that commercial revenue streams do not belong in politics.  The people who have formed that commercial entity are quite free to pool their PERSONAL funds, but not to use the business as if it were their personal asset.  This keeps advocacy as advocacy and makes the non-commercial corporation's function as the organizational form to account for the funding of that advocacy a perfectly acceptable form of public visibility.  I would like that disclosure the  Supremes told Congress to write, and if the corporate advocacy format were just about the speech of the people, as it is with the Sierra Club, there would be no disparity.  

When you understand the function of the corporate charter, it ought to be clear that non-profits do not "lobby" for commercial advantages the same way that businesses do.  Even the Foundation for Corporate Freedom would have to be separate from the corporations funding it.  If we have to have money polluting our elections, we could at least insist upon the formal equality of advocacy corporations.  The Sierra Club and Georgia Pacific are not equal combatants if money is the measure.  Contributions and investments come from different motivations.  The free speech of the auctioneer of democracy is not protected treason.

Paleo-con
DRC wrote: The Sierra Club is

DRC wrote:

The Sierra Club is not a commercial entity even if it is a corporation.  It is a financial entity designed to make political contributions have a collective focus and effect.

No, the Sierra Club is a land advocacy group designed for land preservation.  They absolutely engage in commerce to raise revenue.  Their yearly statements are published like any other corporation.  Take a look for yourself.  They sell their brand in order to raise funds for their cause.  They then use some of those funds to hire lobbyist in Washington to twist arms of politicians and make contributions to others.  Stop me when those activities sound just like the activities other corporations engage in; you know, those corporations that are not on your sweet list.

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This gives these individuals a free pass to spend far more than their personal money or the collected funds of any advocacy group.

Now you are just making stuff up.  Corporations have that exact same limits as individuals for political contributions.  The SCOTUS left those rules in place.  Both an individual and a corporation are allowed to spend the same amounts on advocacy too.  Seriously, where do you get this stuff from?

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I believe that I have the problem well framed, and that it is not about the personal and civil rights of the people engaged in commerce through a corporation to ban the commercial revenue stream from political speech.

Sorry, your frame is on the wrong picture.  this is all about an individuals ability to maintain his or her rights, even if they join an association.  Commerce is not even part of the discussion.

Mr.Burns
Mr.Burns's picture
So in other words what you

So in other words what you are saying DRC is that you do not like the content of their speech so you want the government to shut them up.

 

Art
Art's picture
Quote:If the Sierra Club no

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If the Sierra Club no longer has a constitutional right to due process can not then a President simply order them shut down if they issue criticism of him or even on a whim?
When did that ever happen in America?[quote]A corporation is not a person, it is people. [/quote. In the same way that an assault vehicle is a collection of mechanical parts. An assault vehicle is in no way the equivalent of a fuel pump. Restrictions on the assault vehicle in no way affects the function of a fuel pump. 

Mr.Burns
Mr.Burns's picture
Art wrote:When did that ever

Art wrote:
When did that ever happen in America?

Because the Supreme Court ruled that organizations are entitled to constitutional protections, you are arguing that they should not have constitutional protections.

Let me put it another way, Is it only the first amendment that does not cover corporations?          

Can the Government qaurter troops in Corporate offices?                                                             

Can the government search any corporate building for any reason without warrant?

 

 

Mr.Burns
Mr.Burns's picture
Edit; dbl post    

Edit; dbl post

 

 

Art
Art's picture
Quote:Because the Supreme

Quote:
Because the Supreme Court ruled that organizations are entitled to constitutional protections, you are arguing that they should not have constitutional protections.
that's correct
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Let me put it another way, Is it only the first amendment that does not cover corporations?
Haven't thought about it
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Can the Government qaurter troops in Corporate offices?
3rd Amendment would preclude that.  
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Can the government search any corporate building for any reason without warrant?
obviously not. That would be a 4th amendment violation. The 4th amendment does not distinguish between a privately owned home and a privately owned business.