Corporations are not people? Huh?

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rigel1
rigel1's picture

If they are not, then by the same token those listed  below are not people.

TV networks

Unions

The NAACP

The neighborhood harware store

The Sierra Club

Baseball teams

The DNC

ACORN

Media Matters

OWS

The fire department

The IRS

NORML

So progressives are no longer satisfied with being able to decide who is racist, homophobic, sexist, greedy, mentally ill, or just stupid? Now they want to go a step further and decide who gets to be people? Gawd, get over yourselves.

The audacity of arrogance.

Oh by the way. I work with a corporation and we have a building, some machines, various other assets and a lot of people. Since no decisions can be made and no product deilivered without people. I'm guessing that we must actually be people. Yep, unless this thread is being written by something other than a person, then we must be real people. 

Comments

DynoDon
Correct. http://dictionary.re

Correct.

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/person?s=t&ld=1062

"per·son   /ˈpɜrsən/ Show Spelled[pur-suhn] noun 1. a human being, whether man, woman, or child: The table seats four persons. 2. a human being as distinguished from an animal or a thing. 3. Sociology . an individual human being, especially with reference to his or her social relationships and behavioral patterns as conditioned by the culture. 4. Philosophy . a self-conscious or rational being. 5. the actual self or individual personality of a human being: You ought not to generalize, but to consider the person you are dealing with."   

LysanderSpooner
LysanderSpooner's picture
Corporations are not

Corporations are not literally persons, but they are made up of people.  Hartmann makes a much bigger deal of this than is necessary.  Corporations should have no special rights, that invididuals don't have. 

If they are not treated as a legal entity created by people, then search warrants wouldn't be needed to examines their "papers and effects", right?

rigel1
rigel1's picture
LysanderSpooner

LysanderSpooner wrote:

Corporations are not literally persons, but they are made up of people.  Hartmann makes a much bigger deal of this than is necessary.  Corporations should have no special rights, that invididuals don't have. 

If they are not treated as a legal entity created by people, then search warrants wouldn't be needed to examines their "papers and effects", right?

Correct. Just as it is with the other organizations that I mentioned. They are all people.

Grand Canceler
Grand Canceler's picture
Are you being serious? That's

Are you being serious? That's like saying a battleship is a person because it's comprised of people, both battleships and corporations are artificial constructs. You don't walk outside and see nature giving birth to a corporation. This is like first-grade math; if a corporation is a person, are all persons corporations?

If people go around with logic like this it's worse than I thought.

 

chilidog
LysanderSpooner wrote: If

LysanderSpooner wrote:

If they are not treated as a legal entity created by people, then search warrants wouldn't be needed to examines their "papers and effects", right?

Right.

I have a certain expectation of privacy, a lot in my home, a lot in my unincorporated place of business, a little less in my car, and none on the street.  My shares of Exxon or Coca-Cola are pretty much on the street.

To borrow a favorite line of the right, if corporations have nothing to hide there's nothing to worry about.

rigel1
rigel1's picture
Grand Canceler wrote: Are you

Grand Canceler wrote:

Are you being serious? That's like saying a battleship is a person because it's comprised of people, both battleships and corporations are artificial constructs. You don't walk outside and see nature giving birth to a corporation. This is like first-grade math; if a corporation is a person, are all persons corporations?

If people go around with logic like this it's worse than I thought.

Yes I am. I am being serious. You don't get to randomly choose what organizations get to be people. If corporations are not people, then the others are not either. No spin, no cherry picking.

 Apples and oranges. A battleship does not drive itself. The battleship is simply the building just as my office is the building. It is nothing without the people. A battleship cannot shell a target. People must do that. Apples and oranges.

A good arguement such as mine can be made without an insult. Give it a try. If you are smart enough to pull it off.

Bush_Wacker
Bush_Wacker's picture
Corporations can be seen as

Corporations can be seen as people for legal reasons but not for political reasons.  For corporations to be able to use free speech for political reasons they should have to be "citizens", not just people.  If "people" are allowed to vote then all the illegal aliens in this country should be able to vote as well.

Unions should be treated as people for legal reasons but not for political ones.  "One vote per citizen".That's my opinion on the matter.

Both organizations, unions and corporations should not count as one voice for all the citizens who make up those organizations.

camaroman
camaroman's picture
Corporations are not people.

Corporations are not people. They are artificial legal entities allowed by the states (as originally set up and for a limited amout of time).

Wiki, "A corporation is created under the laws of a state as a separate legal entity that has privileges and liabilities that are distinct from those of its members.[1] There are many different forms of corporations. Many corporations are established for business purposes but public bodies, charities and clubs are often corporations as well. Corporations take many forms including: statutory corporations, corporations sole, joint-stock companies and cooperatives. An important (but not universal) contemporary feature of a corporation is limited liability. If a corporation fails, shareholders may lose their investments, and employees may lose their jobs, but neither will be liable for debts to the corporation's creditors."

A natural person cannot have limited liability, close or change his business name , thereby doing away with any past liabilities. If corporations are persons, they should not not have the advantage of limited liability. Monsanto and their evils is a perfect argument agaist corporate personhood.

I believe that corporations are not persons and possess only the priviledges we willfully grant them. Granting corporations the status of legal "persons" effectively rewrites the Constitution to serve corporate interests as though they were human interests. Ultimately, the doctrine of granting constitutional rights to corporations gives a thing illegitimate privilege and power that undermines our freedom and authority as citizens. While corporations are setting the agenda on issues in our Congress and courts, "We the People" are not; for we can never speak as loudly with our own voices as corporations can with the unlimited amplification of money.

Grand Canceler
Grand Canceler's picture
No really, you have no

No really, you have no argument, just look at an edited version of what you said.

"Apples and oranges. A [corporation] does not drive itself. The [corporation] is simply the building just as my office is the building. It is nothing without the people. A [corporation] cannot [buy] a target. People must do that. Apples and oranges."

dhavid
Does not making multinational

Does not making multinational corporations people give these corporations certain rights, like being able to discretely contribute millions to sway the political system for special interests? They are already spending millions on lobbyists to get their special interests in Congress, and  now with super pacs they can, like with the Walker recall, influence the entire "democratic" process without any disclosure. Corporations are sociopaths, if they be considered people.

Robindell
Robindell's picture
The Commodities Futures

The Commodities Futures Trading Commission recently sued Peregrine Financial, the parent company of a small commodites futures brokerage firm in Cedar Falls, Iowa called PFG Best, and the company's CEO, Russell Wasendorf Sr., attempted suicide outside of the companies Cedar Falls headquarters.  The company lost $200,000 million that was supposed to be in customer accounts.  The firm's clearing bank is in the process of shutting them down.  The CEO as I understand it was also the founder.  He is not the entire company.  This tragedy affects any number of people, customers as well as employees. 

drc2
I thought rigel was making a

I thought rigel was making a funny, but he was serious about corporations and unions being "people."

Camaroman, of all posters, stepped up and got it on the nose.  Kudos.  Stick to stuff you really understand because when you do, you post some good stuff.

Unions are not "people," but unlike corporations, they are made up of lots of people with a little money to negotiate collectively and to provide some benefits and safety net protections.  They have a better right to be seen as democratic organizations than do corporations.  

It might not matter were the idiot idea that money is speech not also Supreme Dogma in America.  In any event, the legal entity appropriate to the realm of Commerce or public "non-profit" agency funding, is "the corporation."  It is chartered by the State, which implies that it must serve the interests of the State, and in America that is supposed to be the democracy owned by "we, the people," not a bunch of rich folks.  In other words, nothing about "personal" in the law can keep the State from requiring that corporations serve the public interest and behave themselves.

In rigel's strange thinking, "the government" would also be people, although that would mean that cons could get personal instead of staying with structural and institutional reforms.  After all, teachers are not "job creators."  (Allow time for spinning head).  rigel, when you come up with another of these and people treat it as a joke, agree that it is for your own good.  

Fletcher Christian
Fletcher Christian's picture
The obvious over reach is

The obvious over reach is that our "representative" system has decided that MONEY = SPEECH.

The effects of this erroneous decision are so far and wide that they cannot be comprehended by one person at one sitting.

I'll try.

It has "legalized tyranny".  As DOUBLE THINK as it sounds... that is what it's done.

The rule of law is no longer applicable... legally.

The EQUAL PROTECTION CLAUSE of the 14th Ammendment is bye, bye.

Without the Constitution and the Bill of Rights... America no longer exists.

We are governed by "Fascicrats".  That is what they are.  Steven King is the one who coined the term (I believe).

We are not FASCISTS.  Our Government is.

There is a HUGE disconnect.

It's so evident.  It's all around you.  All you have to do is "look".

There are TANKS in the streets of STL!!!

Our Federal Reserve isn't "Federal".

---------------------

You are on the computer...  Go over to www.youtube.com and type in "FAKE NEWS".  Watch in horror.

We are the victims of a FASCIST takeover.  We are the walking dead.  Our "digital" words will vanish to history like tears in the rain.

We are ghosts of our own selves.

We are conscious zombies feasting on each other for what we "think" is survival.

The "holes" have already been dug.

It's a done deal.

Everybody knows.

 

chilidog
It seems to me that even if

It seems to me that even if we got a constitutional amendment, or the courts to rule, that corporations are not persons entitled to equal protection, that would not change Citizens United.

I think Citizens United says that the government cannot limit political speech by anyone, including corporations, including foreigners, ANYONE.

rigel1
rigel1's picture
Why cherry pick? Why do we

Why cherry pick? Why do we make a point that corporations are not people? I guess no organizations are people.Correct?

Bush_Wacker
Bush_Wacker's picture
rigel1 wrote: Why cherry

rigel1 wrote:

Why cherry pick? Why do we make a point that corporations are not people? I guess no organizations are people.Correct?

Politically speaking how can an entity composed of many individuals speak for every one of those individuals unless it is a political entity to begin with.  Random corporations or unions cannot represent the individuals who make up those groups politically or intellectually.  Obviously a political organization can represent those individuals or they wouldn't belong to that group.  As individuals we are restricted as to how much money we can contribute to a political party.  Corporations can misrepresent many of it's members by spending massive amounts of money earned by those members on political ads or political documentaries.

Corporations and unions can and should be protected by the same laws that protect people but they have no right to speak for all of it's members.  That is essentially what they do when they spend money for political purposes.  It's very simple and most people see it for what it is but the supreme court often times gets caught up with paralysis by analysis.

Paleo-con
The Citizens United ruling is

The Citizens United ruling is very clear.  It says that people cannot have their political free speech limited just because they join an organization.

From the ruling:  "And wealthy individuals and unincorporated associations can spend unlimited amounts on independent expenditures. <snip footnotes> Yet certain disfavored associations of citizens—those that have taken on the corporate form—are penalized for engaging in the same political speech.

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. This is unlawful. The First Amendment confirms the freedom to think for ourselves."

Therefore, you are absolutly correct chilidog.  Any anemdment that declares that corporations are not people would have no affect on the Citizens United ruling.

chilidog
"Congress shall make no law

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Neither "citizens" nor "persons" is in the language of the first amendment.  So if "certain disfavored associations of citizens" is mentioned in the CU decision, that is freaking amazing.  These guys are nuts.

drc2
Ah, the return of The

Ah, the return of The Intelligent Conservative!  Welcome Paleo.  Your brand has been abused by a lot of wacko's.  But, the assertion of the majority in Citizens United about losing any rights by joining an organization is hogwash to begin with.  They retain all their individual rights as citizens.  Each and every one of the American citizens who is part of any corporation continues to have full personal rights.  Joining any organization does absolutely nothing to any of these rights, other than the military services.

What is being asserted is the rights of the collective persons to be enshrined in a mass person with individual human rights attached.  Not the individuals collectively, but this melded "person" asserts "its" interests as a fiduciary person, not a social being, just a profit-seeking organism.  In issues of "speech," this piece of theological/judicial nonsense connects a commercial revenue stream to political funding, by-passing the bank accounts of the individuals who are acting together.  There is no sense of conscience or humanity left to this "personhood," and the abstraction of individual investment interests factors it all out.

I do not see the same interests at work in unions where many people with small amounts of money join together to represent their human needs as workers.  The economics of unions are intimately connected with the basics of human living, while the economics of corporations and investors are about luxurious wealth rather than paying for food and shelter.  Masters and serfs had a similar relationship.  Now they have loaded a bunch of crap on unions while giving the Massa full and free ability to use whips as well as words.

Your technical objection to the question of association v. "Corporate Personhood" misses the outrage.  People are pissed because they get the dehumanization and the power.  People do not want to admit that there is no democracy here.  They would have been willing to go along with a better charade, but pulling the curtain and letting the Sons of Swiftboat cruise our election waters will either stir a reaction or mark the end of the illusion and the honesty of plutocracy.  How instable will that be?

I have said from the start that it was the "commercial revenue stream" at issue.  Individuals are supposed to "donate" to political campaigns, not make commercial investments in them.  Disclosure was supposed to show when anyone was trying to "buy" an election.  We considered that a sin.  Giving out of some political vision of America puts a nuance on that sort of thing, and class interest is not the same thing as trying to pave the way for profits from the Treasury.  

What candor also requires is knowing that the Court stretched its procedures radically to get to this "ruling."  The original case was about a terrible hit job on Hillary being aired, and lousy as it was, the correct judicial decision ought to have been, show the film.  Period.  Those who play tricks with fine points of law and make sophistry sit in for wisdom are offending those whose participation in power is being stifled by the power of a wealthy elite.  I think this is a bad time for conservatives to affirm the radicalism of the Federalistas and the Corporate Order.  I would love to see a real conservative ressurgence.

camaroman
camaroman's picture
I was originally against the

I was originally against the Citizens United ruling until I read this article in the Huffington Post by Ira Glasser. Then it made perfect sense to me about not giving the government the power to limit free speech, period. Although, it might seem unfair at times with money as speech. So, he with the most money can speak the loudest, but as Glasser said, "  As all our history shows, the first target of government censorship is never the last."

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ira-glasser/understanding-the-emcitiz_b_447342.html

Bush_Wacker
Bush_Wacker's picture
I disagree.  An entity such

I disagree.  An entity such as a corporation should not qualify as a recipient of free speech because it is guaranteed a louder voice than any one individual.  The individuals who make up a corporation have always had the right to free speech and individually carry as much weight as my right to it. 

By saying that our right to free speech is limited by how much money we can spend in the process gives a very UNEQUAL right to large groups.  Once money is allowed into the political process without limits, then there is no longer EQUAL rights for all of us.  You might as well say that corporations can buy the right to vote as many times as they like.

The unique rights afforded to the people of the United States are all based on equality of individuals.  Our democracy is based on the fact that just because you are wealthy doesn't give you an advantage of any kind in our political process. 

Supressing a corporation or a union of the rights of the people does not supress the rights of the people who belong to corporations or unions.

DynoDon
Can I have sex with

Can I have sex with Exxon/Mobil? Can I visit Enron in jail?

DynoDon
What about the Chamber of

What about the Chamber of Commerce?

DynoDon
It's a question of resources.

It's a question of resources. A person does not have the financial resources of a corporation or union. Since getting political speech out to the public requires money, the groups have a big advantage.

Paleo-con
drc2 wrote: Ah, the return of

drc2 wrote:

Ah, the return of The Intelligent Conservative!  Welcome Paleo.  Your brand has been abused by a lot of wacko's.  But, the assertion of the majority in Citizens United about losing any rights by joining an organization is hogwash to begin with.  They retain all their individual rights as citizens.  Each and every one of the American citizens who is part of any corporation continues to have full personal rights.  Joining any organization does absolutely nothing to any of these rights, other than the military services.

I, and the majority in the Citizens United, mostly agree with what you say here.  A person's freedom of speech has nothing to do with one's membership in any organization and should not be limited thereof.  Therefore, it was incorrect for BCRA to apply "test" to one's free speech.

drc2 wrote:
What is being asserted is the rights of the collective persons to be enshrined in a mass person with individual human rights attached.  Not the individuals collectively, but this melded "person" asserts "its" interests as a fiduciary person, not a social being, just a profit-seeking organism.  In issues of "speech," this piece of theological/judicial nonsense connects a commercial revenue stream to political funding, by-passing the bank accounts of the individuals who are acting together.  There is no sense of conscience or humanity left to this "personhood," and the abstraction of individual investment interests factors it all out.

Disagreed.  If you and I form a group that wants to support the ability of posters to speak freely on this board, and we recruit several others that share our opinion, we are simply exercising the concept of power in numbers.  We have not become melded into a single mind, and can therefore be told to shut up as if we were a single person.  The Courts mission is not to apply political prejudice to the law.  The first amendment is to be applied equally.  Carving out exceptions for politically disfavored groups, such as profit seekers, is left for Congressional acts.

drc2 wrote:
I do not see the same interests at work in unions where many people with small amounts of money join together to represent their human needs as workers.  The economics of unions are intimately connected with the basics of human living, while the economics of corporations and investors are about luxurious wealth rather than paying for food and shelter.  Masters and serfs had a similar relationship.  Now they have loaded a bunch of crap on unions while giving the Massa full and free ability to use whips as well as words.

You must know that unions are corporations.  What you are doing here is giving your definition of a good corporation (union) versus a bad corporation (for-profit).  Your premise is that good corporations, the ones you agree with, should be allowed unfettered free political speech.  While on the other hand, bad corporations, the ones you disagree with, should have restrictions placed on their political speech.  I happen to agree with the court ruling that the first amendment must be applied equally, and without prejudice.

drc2 wrote:
Your technical objection to the question of association v. "Corporate Personhood" misses the outrage.  People are pissed because they get the dehumanization and the power.  People do not want to admit that there is no democracy here.  They would have been willing to go along with a better charade, but pulling the curtain and letting the Sons of Swiftboat cruise our election waters will either stir a reaction or mark the end of the illusion and the honesty of plutocracy.  How instable will that be?

Yes, I am old fashion about the courts role.  It should be completely technical in nature.  Outrage, or any other emotional or political sentiments should be hashed out in the halls of Congress by representatives of the people. 

drc2 wrote:
I have said from the start that it was the "commercial revenue stream" at issue.  Individuals are supposed to "donate" to political campaigns, not make commercial investments in them.  Disclosure was supposed to show when anyone was trying to "buy" an election.  We considered that a sin.  Giving out of some political vision of America puts a nuance on that sort of thing, and class interest is not the same thing as trying to pave the way for profits from the Treasury.

I think I agree with you here.  Full disclosure should be the rule, not the exception.  The concept that one group has to disclose donations, while another group gets to protect their membership makes a mockery of the system. 

drc2 wrote:
What candor also requires is knowing that the Court stretched its procedures radically to get to this "ruling."  The original case was about a terrible hit job on Hillary being aired, and lousy as it was, the correct judicial decision ought to have been, show the film.  Period.  Those who play tricks with fine points of law and make sophistry sit in for wisdom are offending those whose participation in power is being stifled by the power of a wealthy elite.  I think this is a bad time for conservatives to affirm the radicalism of the Federalistas and the Corporate Order.  I would love to see a real conservative ressurgence.

I don't think the court stretched anything to get where they did.  One of their justifications can be found in the following text, which I find completely valid.

"The regulatory scheme at issue may not be a prior restraint in the strict sense. However, given its complexity and the deference courts show to administrative determinations, a speaker wishing to avoid criminal liability threats and the heavy costs of defending against FEC enforcement must ask a governmental agency for prior permission to speak. The restrictions thus function as the equivalent of a prior restraint, giving the FEC power analogous to the type of government practices that the First Amendment was drawn to prohibit. The ongoing chill on speech makes it necessary to invoke the earlier precedents that a statute that chills speech can and must be invalidated where its facial invalidity has been demonstrated." 

Paleo-con
Bush_Wacker wrote: I

Bush_Wacker wrote:

I disagree.  An entity such as a corporation should not qualify as a recipient of free speech because it is guaranteed a louder voice than any one individual.  The individuals who make up a corporation have always had the right to free speech and individually carry as much weight as my right to it. 

By saying that our right to free speech is limited by how much money we can spend in the process gives a very UNEQUAL right to large groups.  Once money is allowed into the political process without limits, then there is no longer EQUAL rights for all of us.  You might as well say that corporations can buy the right to vote as many times as they like.

The unique rights afforded to the people of the United States are all based on equality of individuals.  Our democracy is based on the fact that just because you are wealthy doesn't give you an advantage of any kind in our political process. 

Almost...  The entity that has the more money has an unequal advantage, not an unequal right.  Everyone still has the same right to political speech regardless of wealth.  The situation would be no different than comparing the free speech of a wealthy individual to that of a poor person.  They both have the same exact right, but one has an advantage when it comes to being heard.  That was the main push of Citizens United; rights are not sacrificed due to income; high or low.

Bush_Wacker wrote:
Supressing a corporation or a union of the rights of the people does not supress the rights of the people who belong to corporations or unions.

That is exactly what happens.  Telling a union to shut up is telling the members of the union to shut up when their only sin was to try and combat the unfair financial advantage of the rich corporation by combining their resources.

camaroman
camaroman's picture
B_W, the money as free speech

B_W, the money as free speech concept must be done away with. Money needs to be eliminated from politics, period. But to give the federal governemtn the power to limit FREE SPEECH in  anyway would be to head down a slippery slope, IMO.

drc2
Paleo, it is refreshing to

Paleo, it is refreshing to have a quality interchange, and while I do not agree with your technical role of the Court, I appreciate your honestly stated opinion.

On that point, while "without favor" is about justice for all, the inability to consider the human impact of the technical "letter" of the statute has a moral inadequacy that mocks justice.  The vast difference in quality of speech or ability to be heard in the money game from real life makes the metaphor far too misleading for good legal theory to follow.  Money is not speech even when it buys access to the mike. Equal access to the mike matters, and unless we were talking about some human equality in donating, all you get is the politics of "one buck, one vote."  That is obviously not about civil franchise equality.

The definition of "corporation" is another place where intelligent conversation can continue.  I agree that unions are legal corporations.  I think what the corporation is organized to do matters, and should allow distinctions with regard to public and political advocacy.  Profit-making entities ought to have limitations on their ability to advocate for their fiduciary interests.  Period.  Political donations ought to have an ostensible public issue at stake, not just corporate give-aways from bribed or threatened politicians.  That is why the revenue stream matters to me and why the business cannot be considered a public political player apart from the individual interests of the people involved.  Their natural "conspiracy" of interests will suffice; but we ought not only to know who they are, the money ought to come from personal bank accounts and not from the revenues of commerce otherwise.

The purpose of a union, or of the Sierra Club or NORMAL is not to further its commercial revenues through the influence of public policies.  Even if union members stand to improve their incomes or working conditions by collective action, they are not in a position to milk the public treasury for private profit.  When they do, I would agree to regulations against it, as with the prison/industrial complex unions.  But, the real issue is those making money off the prisons.  Where the guards are whistleblowing on working conditions, the union needs to have full voice.

When we get to teachers, I want teachers advocating for education.  They speak for the kids and the neighborhoods, not just for their "fiduciary" responsibilities.  Citizens advocating for Middle Class treatment and professionals working together to make schools or hospitals better make great public advocates.  Weapons manufacturers do not improve society by lobbying Congress.  Look at the results.

The problem of a "government of laws" is that people interpret them.  The words cannot define, categorize and contain the living processes of democracy or justice.  It gives strong guidance, but it demands an active conscience and attention to human reality.  Just as Satan is a great hermeneut and preacher, twisting Scripture inside out, so can the Constitution be made other than it is unless there is some moral compass involved.  Democracy continues to be the challenge rather than the guarantee of the Constitution.  To interpret the Constitution to the destruction of democracy is surely to misread the Founders' Intentions.  No matter how "objective" or literal the words might be.

I think the Constitution is better than that and actually requires us to be creative and of our time.  It is intentionally ambiguous about basic principles and even the key concepts defy orthodoxy or systematization.  How do we establish "liberty and justice for all?"  I know, that is from the Credo, not the Dogma.  But, that is the point.  If it is not about democracy and how to be a free, self-governing people, how can it be Constitutional?

Human beings are clever, and rhetoric is an ancient art of persuasion or how to "spin" the facts.  I have no doubt that the well-paid cynics and sophists high on Koch money can come up with ways to misread the texts plausibly.  I watched bad beer being sold by creating fear of "bitter beer face."  Karl Rove is not the only one who knows how to stigmatize the strength of the opposition.  If they can do that, getting a bunch of elitists to suggest that money is speech or corporations are people is not that hard.  This is fairly complicated stuff, and a lot harder to grasp than "I'm being screwed!"

Lewis Powell was one bad MF.

chilidog
Is there anything to prohibit

Is there anything to prohibit Hugo Chavez or King Abdullah from contributing money to organizations that  criticize incumbent politicians?

Bush_Wacker
Bush_Wacker's picture
camaroman wrote: B_W, the

camaroman wrote:

B_W, the money as free speech concept must be done away with. Money needs to be eliminated from politics, period. But to give the federal governemtn the power to limit FREE SPEECH in  anyway would be to head down a slippery slope, IMO.

It's a catch 22 IF we consider a corporation the same as a real person.  If we keep them seperate then the people of the corporation still have as much right to free speech as any other people who don't work for that corporation.  Isn't letting a corporate entity having free speech a form of double dipping? 

Paleo-con
chilidog wrote: Is there

chilidog wrote:

Is there anything to prohibit Hugo Chavez or King Abdullah from contributing money to organizations that  criticize incumbent politicians?

This is where the law is weird.  Anyone, even foreign nationals, can contribute money to an organization that criticizes a politician's policies.  Foreign contributions cannot be made to any organization that criticizes or supports the actual politician. Citizens United never lifted the limits or bans on campaign contributions.  So here we are in a situation where, as long as there is no cooperation between the campaign and the organization doing the criticizing, unlimited money can be spent.

So from the politician’s point of view:  If he or she has control of the message, there are limits placed on the message.  If he or she has no control of the message, the message is unlimited.  This has to be one of the more... stupid... outcomes of the Citizens Unites ruling.

 

Paleo-con
Bush_Wacker wrote: It's a

Bush_Wacker wrote:

It's a catch 22 IF we consider a corporation the same as a real person.  If we keep them seperate then the people of the corporation still have as much right to free speech as any other people who don't work for that corporation.  Isn't letting a corporate entity having free speech a form of double dipping? 

 

It is a small nuance, but a corporation is not the same as a real person. It simply consist of a real person or persons. 

Yes, it is double dipping. It can be triple, quadruple, or more dipping. The SCOTUS ruing in NAACP v Alabama assures us that our freedom of association cannot be limited for the propose of limiting speech. Alabama tried to say that limiting the speech of the NAACP was not the same as limiting the speech of the individual members. Therefore, one may join all the organizations they wish to, and all of those organizations may still speak out. You can join the Sierra Club, a union, and the NRA all at tha same time and your voice can be heard from each. Organizing is how otherwise unheard voices can join forces and be heard.

Paleo-con
drc2 wrote:The definition of

drc2 wrote:
The definition of "corporation" is another place where intelligent conversation can continue. I agree that unions are legal corporations. I think what the corporation is organized to do matters, and should allow distinctions with regard to public and political advocacy. Profit-making entities ought to have limitations on their ability to advocate for their fiduciary interests. Period. Political donations ought to have an ostensible public issue at stake, not just corporate give-aways from bribed or threatened politicians. That is why the revenue stream matters to me and why the business cannot be considered a public political player apart from the individual interests of the people involved. Their natural "conspiracy" of interests will suffice; but we ought not only to know who they are, the money ought to come from personal bank accounts and not from the revenues of commerce otherwise.

Sorry, drc2, but the first amendment simply cannot be applied depending on the personal viewpoints of the listener. What did Walker think of the revenue stream of the public service unions? The problem with a double edged sword, is that it cuts both ways. By far, the best solution, is to put away the sword and allow everyone, even the disfavored, the freedom of political speech.

drc2 wrote:
The purpose of a union, or of the Sierra Club or NORMAL is not to further its commercial revenues through the influence of public policies. Even if union members stand to improve their incomes or working conditions by collective action, they are not in a position to milk the public treasury for private profit. When they do, I would agree to regulations against it, as with the prison/industrial complex unions. But, the real issue is those making money off the prisons. Where the guards are whistleblowing on working conditions, the union needs to have full voice.

When we get to teachers, I want teachers advocating for education. They speak for the kids and the neighborhoods, not just for their "fiduciary" responsibilities. Citizens advocating for Middle Class treatment and professionals working together to make schools or hospitals better make great public advocates. Weapons manufacturers do not improve society by lobbying Congress. Look at the results.

We can argue that the millions of jobs, trillions in tax revenue; from which said teachers and hospitals are paid, and security of our borders and shores "do not improve society". But I feel that those arguments would hijack this thread and should be taken outside.

drc2 wrote:
The problem of a "government of laws" is that people interpret them. The words cannot define, categorize and contain the living processes of democracy or justice. It gives strong guidance, but it demands an active conscience and attention to human reality. Just as Satan is a great hermeneut and preacher, twisting Scripture inside out, so can the Constitution be made other than it is unless there is some moral compass involved. Democracy continues to be the challenge rather than the guarantee of the Constitution. To interpret the Constitution to the destruction of democracy is surely to misread the Founders' Intentions. No matter how "objective" or literal the words might be.

I think the Constitution is better than that and actually requires us to be creative and of our time. It is intentionally ambiguous about basic principles and even the key concepts defy orthodoxy or systematization. How do we establish "liberty and justice for all?" I know, that is from the Credo, not the Dogma. But, that is the point. If it is not about democracy and how to be a free, self-governing people, how can it be Constitutional?

No drc2, the laws cannot mean one thing this week and something else next week. They must be stable and agreed to. If they are to change, it must be done by process and consent, not the political whims of whoever is in charge at the moment.

The Constitution was written specifically to protect us from pure Democracy. Mob rule and liberty cannot coexist. Democracy is what you get when four wolves and a lamb get together and vote on what’s for dinner. Liberty is what happens when the lamb is protected from being on the menu. As you can see; the wolves cannot have their pure Democracy as long as the lamb has rights. That is what the Constitution does. It protects minorities by applying equal rights to everyone and all the time; not just at the whims of the currently ruling mob.

captbebops
captbebops's picture
Hmm, I guess the sunspots are

Hmm, I guess the sunspots are really having an effect on people's minds.  Such wacky thinking to believe that a business structure can be a person.  Such structures when they become very big become a threat to society.  Same with overly wealthy people.

 

Bush_Wacker
Bush_Wacker's picture
Paleo-con wrote: Bush_Wacker

Paleo-con wrote:

Bush_Wacker wrote:

It's a catch 22 IF we consider a corporation the same as a real person.  If we keep them seperate then the people of the corporation still have as much right to free speech as any other people who don't work for that corporation.  Isn't letting a corporate entity having free speech a form of double dipping? 

 

It is a small nuance, but a corporation is not the same as a real person. It simply consist of a real person or persons. 

Yes, it is double dipping. It can be triple, quadruple, or more dipping. The SCOTUS ruing in NAACP v Alabama assures us that our freedom of association cannot be limited for the propose of limiting speech. Alabama tried to say that limiting the speech of the NAACP was not the same as limiting the speech of the individual members. Therefore, one may join all the organizations they wish to, and all of those organizations may still speak out. You can join the Sierra Club, a union, and the NRA all at tha same time and your voice can be heard from each. Organizing is how otherwise unheard voices can join forces and be heard.

So I'm a stock holder in Exxon.  Exxon is supposed to make their stock holders the priority by decree.  Now Exxon keeps supporting an agenda that is in direct opposition of my agenda.  They are using some of my investment for political purposes that oppose my political view.  Every one of us stock holders can contribute to a political party and we can all vote so why does Exxon get to then speak on our behalf against some of our beliefs?  That's in direct contradiction of the corporate decree. 

If I want to join a political organization to have my voice heard then that is different.  Everyone in that organization will have the same general point of view.  I think that there should definitely be a distinction between profiteers getting involved with the political process and non profit political organizations.  Our forefathers would be turning in their graves if they could see that this hasn't been dealt with morally.

captbebops
captbebops's picture
Corporations who make their

Corporations who make their stockholders their priority by decree must be stupid.  To accomplish that you make your customers the priority.   Happy customers return happy profits resulting in happy stockholders. Somehow they must not teach that to the goof balls who make it out of business college.

 

camaroman
camaroman's picture
I agree B_W. The point I was

I agree B_W. The point I was trying to make in reference to the Citizens United ruling and agreeing with Glassers' comments on the government not restricting free speech rights in anyway. If corporations were not viewed as having rights as real persons in the first place, then they(corporations) would not have those rights, that would need to be or could be, restricted in the first place. The same goes for any organization , whether polictical or not. Are you going to give gangs free speech rights? Churches should not have free speech rights. A corporation, organization, be it political or not, gangs, churches are not persons. If corporations (and other organizations) are not recognized as having free speech rights, then the government could not restrict them and start us down a slippery slop. Giovernment cannot restrict or take away something that does not exist in the first place.

Now, that is very unlikely to happen because of the corporate/government collusion that has existed for some time now.

ah2
I shall summarize the

I shall summarize the rationale of the orignal poster.

People are employed by corporations.  Corporations are therefore comprised of people.  Therefore a corporation is a person.

Let's see how this plays out.

Sailors work on a boat.  Boats are therefore comprised of sailors.  Therefore a boat is a sailor.

Soccer players play on a Soccer team.  Soccer teams are therefore comprised of soccer players.  Therefore a Soccer team is also a Soccer player.

Geese make a gaggle.  A gaggle is therefore comprised of geese.  Therefore a gaggle is also a goose.

Don't you idiots get it yet?  This is completely rational!!!  I seriously don't understand why us dumb liberals can't just accept this obvious reality...

camaroman
camaroman's picture
I'll bet EXXON/MOBILE,

I'll bet EXXON/MOBILE, CHEVRON/TEXACO, BP/SHELL, ALON (FINA) have a lot of pissed off customers and a lot of happy stockholders,reckon?

ah2
Threads make a blanket. 

Threads make a blanket.  Blankets are comprised of threads.  Therefore a blanket is also a thread.

drc2
Paleo, I have not the time

Paleo, I have not the time now to contend with your assertions.  I never argued for mobocracy, and to treat "pure democracy" as if it were what the Founders feared is to forget what they revolted against.  I have dismissed a lot of Libertarian nonsense on the basis of its "voluntarism" or "pure democracy."  It ain't democracy because it is not even government.

Appropriate sized government, based on the functions we continue to evaluate as good Commons investments is what good public discourse in a democracy can produce.  We have lots of legacy to deal with, and some of it is pure prototype Rube Goldberg, and other parts have deep wisdom.  There is no way to gain the literal agreements about meanings that will not have context and other factors involved.  What matters is what cannot quite be expressed in final definition.  That does not mean that we operate in nothingness, only that meaning is not Logical Positivism.  It is our human engagement with tradition in our existential present, guided by vision and intuition about the future.  It is not "objective."

It is not formless and void either.  An American conversation on "democracy" as the political idea that unites these "states" is what matters, not a debate about ancient texts that is not connected to our present challenges.  How does the Constitution provide for the administration of global empire?  What does it say about Wall St.?  What would they have changed had they known how the Constitution would work and not?  What parts would we laugh off as silly or redundant were we writing our own charter for democratic governance today?

I think they were far too cautious about democracy but also quite audacious in placing the locus of authority in "the people" instead of  ordained leaders.  The religious freedom stuff is ace.  The Electoral College is a relic.  The inequality of big and small states becomes far worse as the nation develops.  Money gets its holy blessing from the Supremes, and the Constitution is little help in controlling money or giving us modern voting methods.  We need to talk about important things, and the bottom line needs to be what can be done and the consequences, not doctrinal squabbling.

You do not appreciate the difference between the commercial revenue stream and the funding of advocacy groups and unions.  The latter are contributions made to be part of advocacy for interests that are "special" only in their public policy sense.  While there can be some grey areas for unions to advocate public policy that would improve incomes, etc., where we are talking about many people with small amounts of money, we have a different organizational purpose than where a few people with a lot of money are investing in profit-making.  Teachers lobby for better schools and smaller class sizes.  Oooh the greed!  I do not see many overpaid public workers, certainly not teachers or medical personnel or social workers.

Prison guards are part of the prison/industiral complex problem.  Weapons industries lobby against sensible defense spending cuts.  I think it is possible to treat union advocacy with some discrimination, and that unless outside funds are being channeled through employee representative organizations, the problem is not worth the cure.  Unions should have political advocacy rights that corporations making money should not.  They are not the same, and it is easy to see that they are not.

It matters a lot if the corporation exists to make money as its primary duty.  It can only be involved in bribing public policy for its own profit.  Even if it believes that it is doing "God's Work," it needs to let the citizens decide that without the "special interest" of profit speaking at all if it cannot respect the speech of others.  Rich people can always just join together to advocate for elite privilege, but they have to spend their own money so it can pass through a human bank account.

Paleo-con
  Bush_Wacker wrote:So I'm a

 

Bush_Wacker wrote:
So I'm a stock holder in Exxon. Exxon is supposed to make their stock holders the priority by decree. Now Exxon keeps supporting an agenda that is in direct opposition of my agenda. They are using some of my investment for political purposes that oppose my political view. Every one of us stock holders can contribute to a political party and we can all vote so why does Exxon get to then speak on our behalf against some of our beliefs? That's in direct contradiction of the corporate decree.

If I want to join a political organization to have my voice heard then that is different. Everyone in that organization will have the same general point of view. I think that there should definitely be a distinction between profiteers getting involved with the political process and non profit political organizations. Our forefathers would be turning in their graves if they could see that this hasn't been dealt with morally.

The premise that a corporation has to make their stock holders a priority by decree is a false start. The obligation to the stock holder is to pay a dividend. Therefore, a corporation's lobbying efforts must be used to maximize those dividends, not relay the individual political dogmas of investors. Not to mention that at anytime an investor cares more about a corporation's message than their return on investment, they are completely free to divest.

Seriously... Let's use Exxon as an example. Do you really think any large multinational company is going to spend unlimited dollars just to get a particular politician elected? Favorable treatment can and is currently being gained by stuffing a lot less money into select campaign coffers and the occasional invite to a golf outing. Can anyone even point to one example of a large for profit corporation spending unlimited funds on campaign adds?

No, the only organizations that are spending huge amounts of money are exactly the ones you said you would be willing to join; political advocacy groups.

Paleo-con
ah2 wrote: I shall summarize

ah2 wrote:

I shall summarize the rationale of the orignal poster.

People are employed by corporations.  Corporations are therefore comprised of people.  Therefore a corporation is a person.

A lot of false dichotomies here.  Mayhap if I can correct them, we can come to a beter understanding of what the Citizens United ruling is actually decreeing.

People are employed by corporations. Corporations therefore contain people. Therefore a corporation is not a person, but the people employed by them are still people.

ah2 wrote:
Let's see how this plays out.

Sailors work on a boat.  Boats are therefore comprised of sailors.  Therefore a boat is a sailor.

Sailors work on a boat. Boats are therefore manned by sailors. Therefore a sailor manning a boat is still a person and not a boat.

ah2 wrote:
Soccer players play on a Soccer team.  Soccer teams are therefore comprised of soccer players.  Therefore a Soccer team is also a Soccer player.

Soccer players play on a Soccer team. Soccer teams are therefore comprised of soccer players. Therefore a player is still a person even if they belong to a Soccer team.

ah2 wrote:
Geese make a gaggle.  A gaggle is therefore comprised of geese.  Therefore a gaggle is also a goose.

Geese make a gaggle. A gaggle is therefore comprised of geese. Therefore a goose in a gaggle is still a goose.

chilidog
Paleo-con wrote: Seriously...

Paleo-con wrote:

Seriously... Let's use Exxon as an example. Do you really think any large multinational company is going to spend unlimited dollars just to get a particular politician elected? Favorable treatment can and is currently being gained by stuffing a lot less money into select campaign coffers and the occasional invite to a golf outing. Can anyone even point to one example of a large for profit corporation spending unlimited funds on campaign adds?

No, the only organizations that are spending huge amounts of money are exactly the ones you said you would be willing to join; political advocacy groups.

Do we know how much Exxon contributes to the United States Chamber of Commerce?

Apparently we know that Exxon spent over $27 million on lobbying in 2009.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Chamber_of_Commerce

Phaedrus76
Phaedrus76's picture
Paleo-con

Paleo-con wrote:

 

Bush_Wacker wrote:
So I'm a stock holder in Exxon. Exxon is supposed to make their stock holders the priority by decree. Now Exxon keeps supporting an agenda that is in direct opposition of my agenda. They are using some of my investment for political purposes that oppose my political view. Every one of us stock holders can contribute to a political party and we can all vote so why does Exxon get to then speak on our behalf against some of our beliefs? That's in direct contradiction of the corporate decree.

If I want to join a political organization to have my voice heard then that is different. Everyone in that organization will have the same general point of view. I think that there should definitely be a distinction between profiteers getting involved with the political process and non profit political organizations. Our forefathers would be turning in their graves if they could see that this hasn't been dealt with morally.

The premise that a corporation has to make their stock holders a priority by decree is a false start. The obligation to the stock holder is to pay a dividend. Therefore, a corporation's lobbying efforts must be used to maximize those dividends, not relay the individual political dogmas of investors. Not to mention that at anytime an investor cares more about a corporation's message than their return on investment, they are completely free to divest.

Seriously... Let's use Exxon as an example. Do you really think any large multinational company is going to spend unlimited dollars just to get a particular politician elected? Favorable treatment can and is currently being gained by stuffing a lot less money into select campaign coffers and the occasional invite to a golf outing. Can anyone even point to one example of a large for profit corporation spending unlimited funds on campaign adds?

No, the only organizations that are spending huge amounts of money are exactly the ones you said you would be willing to join; political advocacy groups.

Uh... since the Citizens United decision, the bundlers and companies who are buying are govt can do so anonymously to a large extent. But Sheldon Adelson comes to mind, the lawyer who works for Rmoney's blind trust runs one of these SuperPACs, Rex Maughn is another one.

DynoDon
It's nice when you control a

It's nice when you control a market. Do you really want these companies to control the green energy market too?

camaroman
camaroman's picture
Obama's got the green energy

Obama's got the green energy market sowed up.

Let's see Obama's and th DOE record

FOUR MORE YEARS of this president?

List Of Failed Green Energy Jobs – By Obama

 

<a href='http://oadsrv.com/www/delivery/ck.php?n=ad03f7b8&cb=0.44132040244414144' target='_blank'><img src='http://oadsrv.com/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=32&cb=0.07119147043103241&n=ad03f7b8' border='0' alt='' /></a>

  • Solar Trust of America: FAIL
  • Bright Source: FAIL
  • Solyndra: FAIL
  • LSP Energy: FAIL
  • Energy Conversion Devices: FAIL
  • Abound Solar: FAIL
  • SunPower: FAIL
  • Beacon Power: FAIL
  • Ecotality: FAIL
  • A123 Solar: FAIL
  • UniSolar: FAIL
  • Azure Dynamics: FAIL
  • Evergreen Solar: FAIL
  • Ener1: FAIL

 

DynoDon
You would trust Exxon more?

You would trust Exxon more?

camaroman
camaroman's picture
To do what? The subsidies

To do what? The subsidies that big oil, including Exxon, get come in the form of tax breaks for drilling and the 6% tax break they got when congress passed section 199 of the IRS code. Other manufactureres get a 9% break. However, I am against them, Exxon included, for getting any tax breaks or subisidies as they are called. Congress needs to change the tax code.

But, you know, those "tax break subsidies" amount to about 3 billion a year. The department of agriculture hands out 16 billion in subsidies which mainly goes to large corporate farming like ADM. $4 billion in corn subsidies alone. Who has the corn farming locked up? ADM and its phony ethanol scam. That should also be eliminated.

Venture capital decisions in this country are best left to venture capitalists, not the government, especially the cronie venture capitaslism that obama practicies with taxpayer money.

Paleo-con
Phaedrus76 wrote: Uh... since

Phaedrus76 wrote:

Uh... since the Citizens United decision, the bundlers and companies who are buying are govt can do so anonymously to a large extent. But Sheldon Adelson comes to mind, the lawyer who works for Rmoney's blind trust runs one of these SuperPACs, Rex Maughn is another one.

SuperPACS (527s) had to  disclose their contributors before Citizens United, and still have to disclose their contributors after Citizens United.  There was no change in disclosure rules, just the amount they could contribute; it went from $5,000 to unlimited.

501(c)(4) groups like Sierra Club, NRA, and the NAACP do not have to disclose their contributors , and Citizens United did not change that either.  I think you are thinking of Speechnow v FEC.  The Speechnow ruling allowed 501c4 groups to contribute unlimited amounts to 527s.  The end result is that the superPAC has to disclose that a 501c4, like the NAACP, has made a contribution, and how much, but the NAACP does not have to disclose who contributed to it.  And thus the art of bundling was born.