Third Party & Independents Archives

Solutions For A Broken Government

Primaries will be held in a dozen states this Tuesday, June 8th. The November election cycle is only five months away. Political pundits are all over the map as to the influence voting groups such as Independents and TEA Party supporters will exert over these elections. It is clear that an anti-incumbency sentiment continues to build across the nation, and with good reason. Far left and far right ideology has waxed heavily on the voting public but, there is an overlying reason for our problems that extends beyond ideology.

Voters are coming to realize that our system of government is broken, some say failed. We hear proposed solutions for this issue or that, such as more, or less taxation, a VAT, or a fair tax, reduce the size of government, bring discretionary spending under control, and similar. But, if one takes a long view of our history as it relates to government it is relatively easy to discern markers where we took some wrong turns, made some bad decisions.

Our government functioned much as the Founder’s intended for the first hundred years or so. It wasn’t until the late 1800’s, when the checks and balances called for in the Constitution became skewed. In 1886 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled, in the case of ‘Santa Clara County vs the Southern Pacific Railroad', that corporations were legal persons and, as such, were entitled to certain rights under the Constitution. Please take the time to review the following article which explains how this mistake in the law came about.

//begin quote//
Unequal Protection may prove to be the most significant book in the history of corporate personhood, a doctrine which dates to 1886. For 116 years, corporate personhood has been scrutinized and criticized, but never seriously threatened. Now Thom Hartmann has discovered a fatal legal flaw in its origin: corporate personhood is doomed.
What is �corporate personhood?� Suppose, to keep Wal-Mart at bay, your county commissioners enact an ordinance prohibiting Wal-Mart from doing business in your county. The subsequent (and immediate) lawsuit would be a slam-dunk for Wal-Mart�s lawyers, because this corporation enjoys�just as you and I do as living, breathing citizens�the Constitutional rights of �due process� and �equal protection.� Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. is a person, not in fact, not in flesh, not in any tangible form, but in law.

To their everlasting glory, this is not what the Founding Fathers intended, as Mr. Hartmann explains in rich and engaging detail. And for 100 years after the Constitution was ratified, various governmental entities led corporations around on leashes, like obedient puppies, canceling their charters promptly if they compromised the public good in any way. The leashes broke in 1886, the puppies got away, and the public good was increasingly compromised�until it was finally displaced altogether.

Today, the First Amendment protects the right of corporations-as-persons to finance political campaigns and to employ lobbyists, who then specify and redeem the incurred obligations. Democracy has been transformed into a crypto-plutocracy, and public policy is no longer crafted to serve the American people at large. It is shaped instead to maintain, protect, enhance or create opportunities for corporate profit.

One recent example took place after Mr. Hartmann�s book was written. Senators Patty Murray from Washington and Ted Stevens from Alaska inserted a last-minute provision in this year�s defense appropriation bill. It directed the Air Force to lease, for ten years, one hundred Boeing 767 airplanes, built and configured as passenger liners, to serve as aerial refueling tankers. Including the costs of removing the seats and installing the tanks, and then reversing the process ten years from now, the program will cost $17 billion. The Air Force never asked for these planes, and they weren�t in President Bush�s budget for the Defense Department. Political contributions from the Boeing company totaled $640,000 in the 2000 election cycle, including $20,230 for Senator Murray and $31,100 for Senator Stevens.

The chairman of the CSX Corporation, Mr. John Snow, has been nominated by President Bush to be the new Secretary of the Treasury. Mr. Snow�s company, another legal person, exercised its Constitutional rights by contributing $5.9 million to various campaigns�three-quarters of it to Republicans�over seven election cycles. It was a wise investment. In 3 of the last 4 years, averaging $250 million in annual profits, CSX paid no federal income taxes at all. Instead, it received $164 million in tax rebates�money paid to the company by the Treasury Department.

No, this is not what the Founding Fathers intended democracy to be. Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, as Mr. Hartmann details, were seriously anxious about �moneyed corporations� and their potential interference in public affairs. The Bill of Rights these two men drafted contained the ten Constitutional amendments that survive, and two more that did not: one was to control corporate expansion and dominance. (The other was to prohibit a standing army.)

As the 19th century wore on American corporations entered lawsuit after lawsuit to achieve a strategic objective: corporate personhood. With that, they could break the leashes of social control and regulation. They could sue county commissioners. Or lease their unsold airliners to the Air Force. Or collect millions in tax rebates.
In his spellbinding Chapter 6��The Deciding Moment��Mr. Hartmann tells how corporate personhood was achieved.

Orthodoxy has it the Supreme Court decided in 1886, in a case called Santa Clara County v. the Southern Pacific Railroad, that corporations were indeed legal persons. I express that view myself, in a recent book. So do many others. So do many law schools. We are all wrong.

Mr. Hartmann undertook instead a conscientious search. He finally found the contemporary casebook, published in 1886, blew the dust away, and read Santa Clara County in the original, so to speak. Nowhere in the formal, written decision of the Court did he find corporate personhood mentioned. Not a word. The Supreme Court did NOT establish corporate personhood in Santa Clara County.

In the casebook �headnote,� however, Mr. Hartmann read this statement: �The defendant Corporations are persons within the intent of the clause in section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment�which forbids a State to deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.� Here, anyway, corporate personhood was �provided�� in the headnote, instead of the formal written decision of the Supreme Court. But that�s not good enough.

What is a �headnote?� It is the summary description of a court decision, written into the casebook by the court reporter. It is similar to an editor�s �abstract� in a scientific journal. Because they are not products of the court itself, however, headnotes carry no legal weight; they can establish no precedent in law. Corporate personhood, Mr. Hartmann discovered, is simply and unequivocally illegitimate.

The court reporter for Santa Clara County was Mr. John Chandler Bancroft Davis, a graduate of Harvard Law School.

Mr. Hartman has in his personal library 12 books by Davis, mostly original editions. They display Davis�s close alliance with the railroad industry, and they support persuasively Mr. Hartmann�s argument that Davis injected the personhood statement deliberately, to achieve by deceit what corporations had so far failed to achieve in litigation.
If Davis knew his headnote was legally sterile, though, we can only speculate about his tactics. Perhaps he thought judges in the future would read his headnote as if it could serve as legal precedent, and would thereafter invoke corporate personhood in rendering court decisions. That would be grossly irregular, and it would place corporate personhood in stupendous legal jeopardy if it ever came to light. But something of that sort must have happened, because corporate personhood over time spread throughout the world of commerce�and politics.
Mr. Hartmann doesn�t fill in this blank, but his daylighting of the irregularity will be the eventual undoing of corporate personhood. Its alleged source in Santa Clara County is a myth, a lie, a fraud. Corporate personhood simply cannot now survive, after Mr. Hartmann�s book, a rigorous and sustained legal attack.

Sustained it will have to be, for years or decades or even longer: corporations will fight the attack bitterly, but we now know corporate personhood has utterly no basis in law.

This article is not copyrighted, so permission to reproduce it is unnecessary. Richard W. Behan�s current book is Plundered Promise: Capitalism, Politics, and the Fate of the Federal Lands (Island Press, 2001). For a description of the book, a synopsis, and further information, go to http://www.rockisland.com/~rwbehan/. Mr. Behan is currently working on a more broadly rendered critique, Derelict Democracy: A Primer On the Corporate Seizure of America�s Agenda. He can be reached by email at rwbehan@rockisland.com. For more on Mr. Hartmann�s book, see http://unequalprotection.com //end quote//.


So, Corporate Personhood law reflects the first marker as to where some wrong decisions were made resulting in a profound negative bearing on the Republic, the Constitution.

Moving forward, in 1976 we find that corporations, achieved another mind boggling win through the Supreme Court. In a case known as Buckley vs Valeo the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that money is a form of free speech and that expending funds to influence elections is constitutionally protected. Arguments generally fall into two categories. One, that any/all organizations, including the press be allowed to spend money to influence elections and, two, that only individuals should have the right to influence elections. The latter viewpoint supports the position that large donations by corporations drown out the influence of the small donor.

Money as free speech represents one more marker where bad decisions were made. And, as recently as January of this year corporations, in taking another bite at the apple, sought and won a Supreme Court decision that permits corporate entities to directly fund political advertisements targeted at supporting or attacking a political candidate. The ruling, in a case referred to as Citizens United vs the Federal Election Commission left intact a ban on direct funding by a corporation to a candidate but there is scant difference between funding the candidate or funding advertising for the candidate. Yet another marker where bad decisions have been made that have a negative influence on government.

Of the markers cited, the commonality is corporations and the Supreme Court. There is no reason to engage in tautology here. One only need consider that we have gone from a super wealthy nation to the world's most indebted nation in the short period of 25 or so years. The majority understand that Corporate Personhood law is detrimental to our system of government. They also realize that over-turning a Constitutional amendment like corporate personhood will more than likely be a prolonged effort and a tough fight. Therefore, solutions to ‘reform’ are often voiced as tax increases or decreases, etc. We should recognize that real government reform, such as campaign finance reform, cannot be achieved through the current political system.

What then, might a solution be? Having identified the problem as the money influence in politics and government promulgated by corporate personhood law we need to devise a strategy to remove the money influence. We must abolish corporate personhood law. When that is accomplished we would want to carry out campaign finance reform, locking in clean and free elections, free of the money influence. At that point we will have restored the Republic and the Constitution to something closer to what the Founder’s intended.

Toward that endeavor we should take advantage and build on the anti-incumbent sentiment. The two parties can be weakened significantly by voting incumbents from office every election cycle. We need to support organizations like Tenure Corrupts and VOIDNOW, both targeting the high national incumbency rate. Also, we should support a growing effort to implement Article V Convention, a right under the Constitution. AVC was intended by the Framer’s to give the people a means to restore their trust in government, a timely exercise it would seem. Under Article V Convention (AVC) the people could propose amendments to the Constitution. If adopted by at least 34 states a proposal would be considered 'ratified' and included as an amendment to the Constitution. The government has long denied this right but there is an effort being made to bring AVC before the public square with the intent to force congress and the Supreme Court to embrace this Constitutional right of the people.

The effort to abolish corporate personhood will eventually be fought in the courts and will require strong support from congress. We can't expect support for this effort from either of the two major parties. A new political party must be founded with the mission of abolishing corporate personhood. This party must be established in rules that will prevent the money influence from co-opting the party's agenda. The Republic Sentry Party is representative. This party will bring strong focus to their agenda by authorizing the membership to serve as oversight for other members elected/appointed to positions in government. If a sufficient number of members register complaints about an elected/appointed official a mandatory up/down vote is required by the membership. If the official receives less than 66% favorable vote that official is rejected from the party. This process will encourage communications between the incumbent and the membership and works to tightly focus the party agenda.

Through these three efforts: anti=incumbency, AVC support, and support for a new third party with a different political attitude, we can restore our Republic, our Constitution, and the democratic principles by which we have lived.

Posted by Roy Ellis at June 7, 2010 3:52 PM
Comments
Comment #301854

I researched the Santa Clara County decision, and found this:

One of the points made and discussed at length in the brief of counsel for defendants in error was that “Corporations are persons within the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.” Before argument

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

What do you say to the Chief Justice’s quote? It tends to rebuke the notion of non-endorsement of corporate personhood
in the decision. Or am I reading it wrong?

Posted by: steve miller at June 7, 2010 9:15 PM
Comment #301856

Here is the last paragraph of the decision proper, which would seem to support your premise:


It results that the court below might have given judgment in each case for the defendant upon the ground that the assessment, which was the foundation of the action, included property of material value which the state board was without jurisdiction to assess, and the tax levied upon which cannot, from the record, be separated from that imposed upon other property embraced in the same assessment. As the judgment can be sustained upon this ground, it is not necessary to consider any other questions raised by the pleadings and the facts found by the court. It follows that there is no occasion to determine under what circumstances the plaintiffs would be entitled to judgment against a delinquent taxpayer for penalties, interest, or attorney’s fees; for, if the plaintiffs are not entitled to judgment for the taxes arising out of the assessments in question, no liability for penalties, interest, or attorney’s fees could result from a refusal or failure to pay such taxes. Judgment affirmed


Posted by: steve miller at June 7, 2010 9:22 PM
Comment #301859

Roy, I read this somewhere else recently.

So you believe the SC is going to overturn 100 years of precedent based on this book?

Posted by: gergle at June 7, 2010 10:16 PM
Comment #301865

Roy wrote: “Sustained it will have to be, for years or decades or even longer: corporations will fight the attack bitterly, but we now know corporate personhood has utterly no basis in law.”

It has basis in political support however, most especially by the GOP. And as long as the corpocracy has an entire mainstream political party backing support of the interpretation and precedent established since the ‘Headnote’, it will take a liberal Congress and S.C. to overturn subsequent precedent rulings and the initial error, absent an Article V convention addressing this issue. Not likely in my lifetime, is my guess; whereas, an Article V convention is more probable.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 7, 2010 10:48 PM
Comment #301880


A weak economy lends support to activism and reform. A strong economy weakens the support.

Posted by: jlw at June 8, 2010 2:58 AM
Comment #301900

Steve Miller, as a lay person I don’t expect much credence will/should be given to my position taken as to the Santa Clara decision. I, and many others believe that corporations have used their good offices .to abuse our governing process. Corporate Personhood, Money Is Free Speech, and this latest ruling permitting corporations to directly fund campaign ads are cited as examples of laws, that collectively have been, and are being used to the detriment of government as our Founder’s intended.

I don’t expect the wheels of justice to turn on corporate personhood based on a few words recorded in the Santa Clara case. Previous court rulings held corporations on a much tighter leash and, as a lay person, I see no reason why the courts could not revert to some earlier legal understanding of corporations in law.

I recently posted that Glenn Beck, I believe, related that the Court’s had reversed 840 years of Anglo-Saxon accepted law by ruling for collectivism over individualism, but I can’t remember the exact law being referenced.

But, as I suggested in the article, a sunami change will have to occur across the political landscape for the Court’s to rule for abolishing Corporate Personhood law. I, and many others believe that change will come about, has to come about if we are to survive as the country we know. Last evening Andy Stern, SEIU BTO (big-time-operator) noted that most revolutions happen over 1000’s or 100’s of years yet the New World Order revolution has occurred within a span of 30 years. IMO, that is debatable and perhaps we should wait another year or two before considering the NOW a done deal. But, it’s that kind of change that will lead to the abolishment of corporate personhood law.

We can foment that change through voting incumbents from office, advocating for Article V Convention and supporting a new 3rd party with a different political attitude. David may be correct in that all this may not come about in his lifetime. However, for our children and grandchildren we should we should begin the march. Everything to lose, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, by holding to the status quo and the restoration of our Republic, our Constitution and the democratic principles we have lived by, in pursuing REAL reform of government.
Otherwise-we have the socialistic-corporcratic government we deserve.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at June 8, 2010 3:24 PM
Comment #301901

Roy,
Why it might be nice to dream that one could go back to the days when Americas’ Barons set the Principles and Standards of the Business Day; however, I do believe our ancestors were smart not to allow the Fax Machine to be built in the 1800’s. And why American Parenthood may be one of those things no Human wants to explain, having grown up teaching our Parents Right from Wrong I do see the Children of the 21st Century having Political Fun showing Americas’ Corporations how to build an economically viable and financially independent Green Sustainable Nation and Global Economy.

And why I know making every American economically, energy, and environmentally independent through Commerce and Industry is a hard leap of faith for those over the age of 30; nevertheless, told to go learn why the Law sees them as little corporations I do believe the Children of the 21st Century can help their parents and Grandparents learn why Americas’ Democratic and Republican Elected Officials to the realm of Political Correctness.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at June 8, 2010 4:11 PM
Comment #301906

The voters have a very simple solution right under their very own noses.

A good start is to stop repeatedly rewarding failure and stop repeatedly rewarding FOR-SALE, incompetent, and corrupt incumbent politicians with 90% re-election rates.

Until then, the voters have what they deserve; the best corruption, waste, bloat, and corpocracy that money printed out of thin air can buy.

At any rate, the voters have the government that they elect, and re-elect, and re-elect, … , and re-elect, at least, until repeatedly rewarding failure and repeatedly rewarding FOR-SALE, incompetent, and corrupt incumbent politicians with cu$hy 90% re-election rates finally becomes too painful.

Posted by: d.a.n at June 8, 2010 7:36 PM
Comment #301907

Could not agree more d.a.n. The next couple of elections will likely be eye openers. Seems the TEA Party is quite fractious but voting against incumbents in bloc for the most part.

This TEA Party movement is a good exemplar of an unorganized movement, representative of any large political party or movement. That is why I’m hopeful the Republic Sentry Party can focus their agenda by putting some rules in place whereby members must agree to support the Party’s agenda. Therefore, the initial agenda will have to be brief and void of social issues, like advocating for the abolishment of corporate personhood. Reform first, then sort out the social issues.

Would be great if voting incumbents from office leads to government that will represent the people. I do have my suppositions that the corpocracy will be difficult to dislodge and most likely will require a 3rd party effort. But, to the extent that voting out incumbents can weaken the corpocracy and improve our lot that is a great thing.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at June 8, 2010 8:24 PM
Comment #301908

Correction to an earlier post:
“I recently posted that Glenn Beck, I believe, related that the Court’s had reversed 840 years of Anglo-Saxon accepted law by ruling for collectivism over individualism, but I can’t remember the exact law being referenced.”

The reference was to the Court ruling on the punitive fine relating to the ExXon Valdez oil spill. The Court ruled that the fine was set to high and that punitive damages would be assessed at a ration of 1:1, damages to reparations. According to Beck that ruling shot down 840 years of accepted law regarding punitive damage.

The Corpocracy is alive and well


Otherwise - - -

Posted by: Roy Ellis at June 8, 2010 9:23 PM
Comment #301920

Roy,

If following maritime law is collectivism, then I must be a blue monkey. The legislature is free to change maritime law as it sees fit, until then I think we should follow it, don’t you, or would you prefer tyrannical fiats?

Posted by: gergle at June 9, 2010 9:59 AM
Comment #301922

gergle, you seem to have convolved the two paras in my last post. The first para was incorrect so please ignore that one.

The second para relates to what Glenn Beck had to say about the Supreme Court ruling on the damages award for the ExXon Valdez oil spill. The SC set punitive damages at a ratio of 1:1, changing 840 years of accepted law. ExXon cleaned up 10% of the oil and paid a paltry $2B in damages.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at June 9, 2010 10:53 AM
Comment #301925

Roy,

Yes, they did that because precedent in maritime law dictates that. That is not changing 840 years of accepted law, that is following the law.

In other words, they were charged double the actual damages.(damages+punitive damages) Where do you get the 10% number?

Exxon paid for the clean up and was reimbursed by insurance companies.

I also believe your damage numbers are larger than numbers I’ve seen.

Posted by: gergle at June 9, 2010 2:17 PM
Comment #301927

Gergle, what information I related was from Beck. Here are some excerpts from wiki which does relate to a maritime precedence in the law. Not sure how Beck was relating to 840 years of Anglo=Saxon accepted law. Could be he was referencing the Supreme Court ruling that set the maritime precedent in place.
//wiki excerpts//
Despite the extensive cleanup attempts, less than ten percent of the oil was recovered[15] and a study conducted by NOAA determined that as of early 2007 more than 26 thousand U.S. gallons (22,000 imp gal; 98,000 L) of oil remain in the sandy soil of the contaminated shoreline, declining at a rate of less than 4% per year
In the case of Baker v. Exxon, an Anchorage jury awarded $287 million for actual damages and $5 billion for punitive damages. The punitive damages amount was equal to a single year’s profit by Exxon at that time. To protect itself in case the judgment was affirmed, Exxon obtained a $4.8 billion credit line from J.P. Morgan & Co. This in turn gave J.P. Morgan the opportunity to create the first modern credit default swap in 1994, so that J.P. Morgan would not have to hold so much money in reserve (8% of the loan under Basel I) against the risk of Exxon’s default.[22]
Meanwhile, Exxon appealed the ruling, and the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the original judge, Russel Holland, to reduce the punitive damages. On December 6, 2002, the judge announced that he had reduced the damages to $4 billion, which he concluded was justified by the facts of the case and was not grossly excessive. Exxon appealed again and the case returned to court to be considered in light of a recent Supreme Court ruling in a similar case, which caused Judge Holland to increase the punitive damages to $4.5 billion, plus interest.
After more appeals, and oral arguments heard by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on January 27, 2006, the damages award was cut to $2.5 billion on December 22, 2006. The court cited recent Supreme Court rulings relative to limits on punitive damages.
Exxon appealed again. On May 23, 2007, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals denied ExxonMobil’s request for a third hearing and let stand its ruling that Exxon owes $2.5 billion in punitive damages. Exxon then appealed to the Supreme Court, which agreed to hear the case.[23] On February 27, 2008, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments for 90 minutes. Justice Samuel Alito, who at the time, owned between $100,000 and $250,000 in Exxon stock, recused himself from the case.[24] In a decision issued June 25, 2008, Justice David Souter issued the judgment of the court, vacating the $2.5 billion award and remanding the case back to a lower court, finding that the damages were excessive with respect to maritime common law. Exxon’s actions were deemed “worse than negligent but less than malicious.”[25] The judgment limits punitive damages to the compensatory damages, which for this case were calculated as $507.5 million.[26] Some lawmakers, such as Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick J. Leahy, have decried the ruling as “another in a line of cases where this Supreme Court has misconstrued congressional intent to benefit large corporations.”[27]
Exxon’s official position is that punitive damages greater than $25 million are not justified because the spill resulted from an accident, and because Exxon spent an estimated $2 billion cleaning up the spill and a further $1 billion to settle related civil and criminal charges. Attorneys for the plaintiffs contended that Exxon bore responsibility for the accident because the company “put a drunk in charge of a tanker in Prince William Sound.”[28]
Exxon recovered a significant portion of clean-up and legal expenses through insurance claims associated with the grounding of the Exxon Valdez.[29][30] Also, in 1991, Exxon made a quiet, separate financial settlement of damages with a group of seafood producers known as the Seattle Seven for the disaster’s effect on the Alaskan seafood industry. The agreement granted $63.75 million to the Seattle Seven, but stipulated that the seafood companies would have to repay almost all of any punitive damages awarded in other civil proceedings. The $5 billion in punitive damages was awarded later, and the Seattle Seven’s share could have been as high as $750 million if the damages award had held. Other plaintiffs have objected to this secret arrangement,[31] and when it came to light, Judge Holland ruled that Exxon should have told the jury at the start that an agreement had already been made, so the jury would know exactly how much Exxon would have to pay. //end excerpt//]

Posted by: Roy Ellis at June 9, 2010 3:30 PM
Comment #301928

gergle, perhaps BP will take their que from ExXon Mobile - -

http://www.portfolio.com/business-news/portfolio/2009/03/23/Exxon-Valdez-Lawsuit-History/index.html

Posted by: Roy Ellis at June 9, 2010 3:39 PM
Comment #301931


What do you all think about the California proposition eliminating party primaries?

Posted by: jlw at June 9, 2010 4:28 PM
Comment #301940

jlw, they are not eliminating primaries. They propose to make primaries OPEN to all voters. I would likely vote for it. But, I haven’t researched it for specifics. I resent, here in Texas, not being able to vote in the Primaries due to my Independent voter status. I say let Independents vote in the Primaries too, since the Republocrats have erected so many barriers to independent parties and candidates.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 9, 2010 5:38 PM
Comment #301941

Texas don’t have primaries for independent parties? How do independent parties choose their candidates? Just curious.

Posted by: Beretta9 at June 9, 2010 6:38 PM
Comment #301942
Everything to lose, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, by holding to the status quo and the restoration of our Republic, our Constitution and the democratic principles we have lived by, in pursuing REAL reform of government.
Posted by: Roy Ellis at June 8, 2010 03:24 PM

Thank You, Roy Ellis, for finally calling our country a republic! I’m really tired of most people calling our country a democracy.

I resent, here in Texas, not being able to vote in the Primaries due to my Independent voter status.
Posted by: David R. Remer at June 9, 2010 05:38 PM

I agree with you, David. My state’s primary ballot gave me the choice of candidates from only two parties. Democratic and Republican. The Libertarian party is on the ballot in my state, but it was not in the primaries. I could only vote for one party’s candidates and that party of choice was not mine. Also, the computer system used does not allow a write-in vote.

Roy Ellis and gergle. Please allow me to interpret the Santa Clara case in my simple way to perhaps benefit the debate.

The way I see it is this:
The state of California modified it’s constitution and somehow included taxing fence posts.
The railroad didn’t want to pay the tax and sued to have the tax blocked and lost, and continued to lose until the supreme court heard the case.
The supreme court decided that the railroad was chartered by the federal government and was not subject to California’s jurisdiction.
The case had nothing to do with CP and a question presented to a judge by a court reporter refering to CP was asked and answered before the case started.
The mention of this memo is in the headnote and is the only reference to CP in this entire case.

I’m sure if I’m incorrect my error will be demonstrated, but I think this is the santa clara case in a nutshell.

Posted by: Weary Willie at June 9, 2010 6:50 PM
Comment #301945

Roy, Why shouldn’t they get a just settlement, based on law?

Posted by: gergle at June 9, 2010 7:16 PM
Comment #301953

Roy,

Regarding 10% recovery and contaminants in the beaches, that is grossly misleading. Crude oil is biodegradable, it is no longer a threat to anything or anyone, and most of it was likely dispersed and decomposed. There are some who think long term ingestion of low levels of small amounts of oil remnants might be harmful to wildlife. However, I don’t think there is any science to support that as a significant risk.

I hate the word “natural” but it is natural.

Oil was used by some of the first travelers to Texas:

Blobs of tar, some as large as baseballs, wash ashore and melt in the sun to the distress of barefoot tourists. Ships and offshore oil drilling catch the blame. Coastal Indians, however, used the tar for decoration and waterproofing, and the de Soto expedition of the sixteenth century referred to it. The material likely comes from natural asphalt seeps along the Mexican coast. Kerosene easily removes it from the bottom of the feet.

I don’t understand your gripe about Exxon. They paid damages and punitive damages as determined by the courts. What were you looking for, a lynching?


Weary,

I may be missing something here, but that doesn’t have much to do with the Exxon Valdez or BP’s spill, in my opinion.

Posted by: gergle at June 9, 2010 8:57 PM
Comment #301957

Gergle, I thought the title of the article was,

“Solutions For A Broken Government”

Not, “Solutions for a broken boat”.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporate_personhood_debate#History_of_the_debate_in_the_United_States

As railroads increased their size becoming business organizations that operated across multiple states, a number of conflicts between various states and the railroads began to surface. In four cases that reached the Supreme Court (94 U.S. 155, 94 U.S. 164, 94 U.S. 179, 94 U.S. 180 (1877)), railroads tried to argue that the 14th Amendment prevented states from regulating the maximum rates they could charge. These cases did not rely on just an interpretation of the 14th Amendment as most also tied in the Interstate Commerce clause as well. In each case the Court refused to render an opinion as to whether the 14th Amendment applied to corporations, instead couching their decision on the Interstate Commerce clause.

The interstate commerce clause allows the government to regulate commerce between the states. The interference caused by the CP illusion muddies the waters, yet the Ninegods relied on the merit of the commerce clause, not on the merit of the 14th amendment when deciding these cases.

The mistake made by the Ninegods was to consider the corporation/railroads before considering the state. The Ninegods should have focused on a solution that placed the congress responsible for a contiguous railroad from coast to coast instead of allowing the few, monied sponsors to control the entire project. The Ninegods should have insisted congress pass legislation that all states must form their corporation as to accomodate all the states. To use a railroad term. The corporate charter must adhear to the gauge defined by the federal charter.

Let’s take a more recent example, Walmart. There is nothing to stop a California walmart store from purchasing a boatload of product from china. There is nothing to stop this walmart in California from selling it’s product to a walmart in Maine. Both Walmart stores do it every day. The Ninegods short-circuted the state’s ability to control these individual corporations and in doing so short-circuted the individualality and diversity that 50 individual state sponsored corporations would have provided.

If the Ninegods would focus on the state’s control of corporate charters instead of focusing on the corporation as a legal entity, the entegrity of both the commerce clause and the 14th amendment would be maintained.

Posted by: Weary Willie at June 9, 2010 9:25 PM
Comment #301958

Weary Willie, I’ve not read up on the early court cases involving corporate personhood. I do recall that what you quoted in the next thread down played into the lawsuit. Quote: “San Mateo County, along with neighboring counties, filed suit against the railroads to recoup the massive losses in tax revenue stemming from Southern Pacific’s refusal to pay. After hearing arguments in San Mateo County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Company, the California Supreme Court sided with the county. Using the Jurisdiction and Removal Act of 1875, a law created so black litigants could bypass hostile southern state courts if they were denied justice, Southern Pacific was able to appeal all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.”

As far as I know you are correct in that Corporate Personhood was not mentioned in the court hearings. I did read somewhere where the corporations were looking to increase their influence on the political system. I’ll try to run that down.

But, it’s clear corporations have stayed at the task of putting the law on their side. I’ve heard there is about half a dozen legislations weekly giving tax breaks and perks to big business. In Today’s Wash Post the Democrats are pushing a package of hefty corporate tax increases intended to discourage corporations from moving their operations overseas. Just electionering and lefties pulling to the populist center as November is only 21 weeks away. Most go to tax laws put in place to prevent double taxation on corporate income. Worth about $14B in revenue and designed to make the Rep’s look bad over job outsourcing.

As a run of the mill lay person I’m not too interested in the technicalities of corporate personhood law. I can’t conjecture that the Court’s would go back to the Santa Clara decision if a new hearing was begun on CP. My pea brain can accumulate events that I am aware of over the last coupla hundred years and certain significant events pop to the top. Corporate Personhood being the prime factor, IMO, for our broken/failed government.

How about this analogy for ‘technical’ law? Since the color black is one of the colors in the light spectrum those advocating for black light would win a court ruling that says you can’t discriminate against black light. Then the advocates would demand more black light to the point where your house is dark even with the lights on, etc but the courts would stick to their guns that you can’t discriminate because of ‘precedent’.


I looked around for 30 minutes trying to find a line by Nelson Walker in what the two attempts to get a ruling from the SC on Article V Convention meant to future SC attempts. It’s a good example of how seemingly non-related, technical issues in law can have a major bearing on the outcome of a case.

But, when you factor in the potential for corporations to buy politicians and government through the combination of Corporate Personhood, Money Is Free Speech, and this latest Citizens United ruling on direct funding of campaign ads it seems a no-brainer to understand that we don’t have a Republic, we have a Corpocracy, or of late, a Socialistic-Corporcratic gov’t. Think about it. What happens in this country, where money and politics is involved, where the heavy hand of corporations isn’t involved. A little more tautology won’t hurt:

you don’t want a walmart and who shows up at your courthouse? WTO and walmart. Corporations now have their own government, their own regulations, etc.

who is making big decisions about BP oil spill? Obama, who received around a $1M in campaign donations from BP.

As the law now stands foreign nationals involved in the management of US corporations can direct corporate funds to purchase advertising for/against a political candidate in this country.

You could fill pages with stuff like this. We have gov’t by corpocracy. The people are have been relegated to spectators in the political arena. Read an article today that ExXon actually made money off the Valdez oil spill by keeping it in the courts for 20 years or so. Expect BP to follow suit as ExXon has set the precedent.

Otherwise - -

Posted by: Roy Ellis at June 9, 2010 9:38 PM
Comment #301960

Weary,

I GOT that, what I didn’t get was Roy’s comment how this related to the Exxon Valdez fines or BP.

Posted by: gergle at June 9, 2010 10:50 PM
Comment #301961

http://www.article5.org/
The Story of Walker v. United States

and

Walker v. Members of Congress

The U.S. Supreme Court said Mr. Walker had “No Standing” because he was just a citizen.
If just one state would take the information provided by Bill Walker, to the U.S. Supreme Court it would have “standing”. Why hasn’t any state resolution been made to take this information to the Supreme Court?

Posted by: Tired Tim at June 9, 2010 10:51 PM
Comment #301963

Maybe it’s because the 17th amendment left the states no standing.

Posted by: Tired Tim at June 9, 2010 11:36 PM
Comment #301970

If you need to come up for air, try Belkin Air in the 12 oz. can.

Posted by: PFCLarue at June 10, 2010 1:31 AM
Comment #301971

Baretta9, write in candidacies.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 10, 2010 1:44 AM
Comment #301972

I did not have an write in option. I had to vote on a computer that had sticking buttons.

Posted by: Weary Willie at June 10, 2010 2:10 AM
Comment #301979

Here is the Walker information I was looking for. Just to make a point of how ‘technical’ the Court’s are in all things in the law.
http://www.article5.org/

Excerpt: “The story of the two lawsuits, Walker v. United States, filed in December, 2000 and Walker v. Members of Congress, filed in September, 2004. Walker v. United States remained a federal district court case. Walker v. Members of Congress was appealed to the Supreme Court of the United States.
Walker v. United States was the first lawsuit in history to directly address the question of whether Congress was required to obey the text of the Constitution and call a convention when the states applied which the evidence in the suit clearly showed they had, or whether, despite the language of the Constitution which the Founders termed “peremptory” Congress could ignore, or veto, the direct text of the Constitution and refuse to call such a convention even though the states had applied.
In Walker v. United States, an over-length brief citing over two hundred Supreme Court rulings favoring the position of the plaintiff, Bill Walker of Seattle, Washington, was presented in district court. The court refused to read the document and ultimately, citing Coleman v. Miller, 307 U.S. 433 (1939) established that under the court’s political question doctrine, Congress was empowered to ignore or veto the direct text of the Constitution.
Following the court decision, an amicus brief was filed with the Supreme Court of the United States in the cases, McConnell v Federal Election Commission (02-1674 et al.). The purpose of the brief was twofold: (1) To serve as a practice exercise for a new Walker case intended to go to the Supreme Court and (2) to find out whether or not the assertions made in Walker v. United States were in fact true. This last point was accomplished simply by reversing the position that had been held in Walker v United States and agreeing with the political question doctrine set forth in the ruling in that lawsuit. Because of the Supreme Court Rules, the amicus was not allowed to be presented to the court because no attorney licensed to practice before the court would agree to be associated with the presentation made in the amicus. All attorneys indicated they could not accept the conclusions as true. The fact the amicus was never presented to the Court did not matter. Because the attorneys had reacted so violently, it was obvious by this reaction that what had been stated, that Congress possessed a veto and the effect of that veto was far-reaching, so much so, as to establish the possibility of a dictatorship in the government, that no attorney could accept it. Thus, if the conclusions of the amicus were false, then the opposite, that which had been asserted in Walker v. United States, must be true. It was time for a new lawsuit.
Based on new grounds of standing, Walker v Members of Congress was filed in 2004. The suit was significant in several ways. First, whereas Walker v. United States had sued Congress as a group, Walker v. Members of Congress sued the members as individuals. This meant that each member, was required under federal law, to individually determine their opposition to the lawsuit and request the United States represent them opposing the lawsuit. All members of Congress opposed the lawsuit by requesting the government represent them. Despite the language of the complaint which removed any member of Congress from the suit if he supported obeying the Constitution, no member of Congress chose to obey the Constitution. Thus, all members of Congress have publicly advocated they oppose obeying the direct text of the Constitution and support they having a veto of its text.
Secondly, it brought to the attention of the courts that such refusal was a violation of several criminal laws among them, 18 U.S.C. 1918, violation of oath of office by federal officials. The penalty for such violation is one year in prison and removal from office.
Finally, Walker v. Members of Congress was significant as it was the first lawsuit in history directly dealing with a convention call of Article V to be presented to the Supreme Court. In October, 2006 the court denied a writ of certiorari and thus refused to consider the case. However, the United States, under Supreme Court Rules, had already conceded as fact and law that it held that Congress could veto the text of the Constitution.
What was Gained by the Lawsuits?
At first glance it would appear that the two lawsuits were complete failures as the courts at every level denied the lawsuit and appeared not to have ruled at all. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Before the two lawsuits, Congress had hidden behind what are termed in the legal world, “latches” or the right to act as if something that is there is not there. Congress has for years simply done nothing regarding the convention call.
But the lawsuits changed that. True, they were not successful in achieving the desired end that was sought. But what they did do was force the courts to assign Congress a position, a stance, on the issue that previously before it had been able to avoid. The district court, in Walker v United States and again in Walker v. Members of Congress extended what is known as the Coleman doctrine, based on the lawsuit, Coleman v Miller, 307 U.S. 433 (1939) to include not only the amendatory process previously controlled by Congress as stipulated by Article V, but the convention method of amendment as well, thus giving Congress “exclusive” control of the entire amendatory process. Further, the courts (including the Supreme Court) endorsed the right of Congress to “ignore or veto the direct text of the Constitution” such that even if the Constitution stipulated that Congress was required to take an action (such as a convention call or hold an election, for example) it now possessed the power to refuse to do so under what the court termed, “the political question doctrine.” Finally, by employing Coleman, the court allowed the Congress to take actions against the state legislatures such as was done during the civil war to compel the compliance in the ratification vote. The court did not state at any time that the veto of text was limited only to Article V. Indeed, as any such stipulation would be based on authority granted the court by the Constitution, and the court has allowed that such authority may be vetoed, it is logical to presume such limit could not be imposed. What we have now is a runaway Congress.
The lawsuits also established that the actions of Congress are, in fact, criminal in nature rather than simply a civil or political action. Thus, the refusal of the members of Congress to call a convention not only violates the Constitution, but is a criminal act as well.
Finally, based on the actions of the government taken at the Supreme Court, the lawsuits established that the above assertions are accepted by the government “as fact and law.” The Congress now has no place to hide. Their veto and refusal to obey the Constitution is now a matter of public record. The fact they have criminal acts is a matter of public record. The fact that every member of Congress individually decided to oppose obeying the Constitution is now a public fact. Congress can no longer hide behind the walls of the Capitol Building on this issue.
It is for the above reasons that efforts will continue to compel Congress to call a convention for the most important reason of all—-to preserve the Constitution itself. What value are constitutional guarantees of rights if the government does not have to obey them? “ End Excerpt

David made me aware of a new effort being taken relative to Corporate Personhood called ‘coffee party USA’. http://www.coffeepartyusa.com/
And Reclaim Democracy, www.reclaimdemocracy.org has been advocating for the abolishment of Corporate Personhood for several years.
Wiki makes this interesting statement about the court clerk: “The corporate personhood debate refers to the controversy (primarily in the United States) over the question of what subset of rights afforded under the law to natural persons should also be afforded to corporations as legal persons.
In the United States, corporations were recognized as having rights to contract, and to have those contracts honored the same as contracts entered into by natural persons, in Dartmouth College v. Woodward, decided in 1819. In the 1886 case Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad, 118 U.S. 394, the Supreme Court recognized that corporations were recognized as persons for purposes of the 14th Amendment.[1][2] Some critics of corporate personhood, however, such as author Thom Hartmann in his book “Unequal Protection: The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Theft of Human Rights,” claim that this was an intentional misinterpretation of the case inserted into the Court record by reporter J.C. Bancroft Davis.[3] Bancroft Davis had previously served as president of Newburgh and New York Railway Co.
Seems the revolving door in politics/government has been with us fer a while.
People know that corporations, congress and the Courts are tag teaming on the citizen/taxpayer. Gotten really bad over time and, knowing how greed operates, things will get worse for the people. It’s time to take a stand, right some wrongs and salvage our Republic, IMO.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at June 10, 2010 11:31 AM
Comment #301983

Roy, at the heart of this issue is the legal profession, which, with the Supreme Court as its foundation, has learned that in a democratically elected government, if you make the law so specialized as to be out of reach of the general public’s literacy, then you have potentially, 100% total authoritarian control over the nation and all its inhabitants, defended and protected by the very laws the legal professionals create for their own purposes.

Given the relationship between corporate profits and the legal profession and political parties, it becomes clear as day that the people have no legal recourse against the authoritarian system EXCEPT at the ballot box on election day. Only if the people STOP believing what they hear from their career politicians, corporations like BP and Lehmann Bros., and band together as an anti-incumbent majority, can they force our current authoritarian government to relinquish its enormously profitable dependency upon the corporations and authoritarians in the legal profession.

What makes this so tough, of course, is that the corporations have steadily been increasing their control over the media and public discourse, exemplified by British Petroleum’s buying the internet’s search engine’s content in the top search categories regarding BP and the Great Gulf Glop! The top search terms now all lead to British Petroleum’s web pages delivering to the public BP’s message and ‘facts’. With this kind of control over the media and public discourse and reference materials, even an anti-incumbent organized effort by voters is threatened from ever becoming a reality.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 10, 2010 1:20 PM
Comment #301998

Agree with that David. Here is another example of the corpocracy interfering in elections.

http://www.mainebiz.biz/news46431.html

This article relates that the Supreme Court jumped into another campaign finance issue by staying Arizona’s Clean Elections law. The stay ruling prevents the state from distributing matching funds payments to candidates seeking public funding for their campaign. The Arizona law was designed to help weak candidates compete against privately funded candidates. Another win for the Corpocracy I do believe.

We need campaign finance reform but REAL reform cannot be had through the two party’s. IMO, it will take an AVC action or a 3rd party with a different political attitude to deliver REAL campaign finance reform. Republic Sentry Party advocates that all campaign donations be passed from the individual to the IRS. Give as often as you want and as much as you want. The IRS will be responsible for accounting and bundling received donations. The IRS will, on request, pass funds to the Federal Elections Commission. Now the audit trail is broken. The FEC will account and plan for the distribution of funds to the viable parties based on certain metrics such as the number of candidates being sponsored by a party.

This would be private funding managed by public agencies. We would each bear the cost of public management and each party would be funded on a relatively equal basis. If it leaks out that a certain donor has given $10M it’s not too serious in that the $10M is bundled and eventually equally split among the various parties.

But,to get there will require several years of VOID action along with the founding of a 3rd party with a focused agenda to git er dun, IMO.

What position might the Supreme Court take if the people, congress and political parties all want Corporate Personhood law abolished? If a strong 3rd party comes to power advocating for abolishment of CP then the other two parties may have to pursue the same if the public vote favors abolishment of CP. I know, I’m star gazing again.

Very well stated post David. We know what the problem is, the source of the problem and how to attack the problem. Kind of like having been diagnosed with a slow type of cancer. There comes a time when you take action or risk your life by doing otherwise. Taking aspirin and doing exercises only gets one so far.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at June 10, 2010 4:58 PM
Comment #302005


(wiki) “Put into the hands of a few conglomerates, U.S. news media have increasingly become WMDs - Weapons of Mass Distraction and Weapons of Mass Deception.”

A powerful opiate combined with a message. The overriding theme, anti-democracy.

Posted by: jlw at June 10, 2010 7:09 PM
Comment #302015

Yeah jlw, we can’t tolerate the Corpocracy any longer. The time has come to hang up your comfy lifestyle and beat your plowshares into swords. We will all have to make some sacrafices for the good of the Republic. In the end we will probably be better patriots, citizens for taking on the Corpocracy, and winning. Fer shure, it will make our grandkids proud.

I know most are familiar with Reclaim Democracy but they have very good articles on this site: A lot of useful information to attack the Corpocracy.

Going down for a few days. Grinders Switch Tenn. Can you believe it?

Posted by: Roy Ellis at June 10, 2010 9:55 PM
Comment #302017

http://www.hulu.com/watch/118169/the-corporation?c=News-and-Information/Documentary-and-Biography#s-p1-so-i0

This is a link to an interesting documentary called “The Corporation”. It’s over 2 hours long.

Posted by: Weary Willie at June 10, 2010 10:52 PM
Comment #302034

Roy,

I would agree with that, if I could put down my Frito-Lay Chips and Coke and get off the couch, but then I’d miss out on American Idol.

Weary, Thanks for the link.

Posted by: gergle at June 11, 2010 9:22 AM
Comment #302040

For all of you guys on the “anti-incumbent” band wagon, you may want to rethink things again;

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/06/10/stewart-rips-media-for-pr_n_607315.html

Wow, “Super Tuesday”, 82 out 84 incumbents won.

Rocky

Posted by: Rocky Marks at June 11, 2010 2:13 PM
Comment #302041

Rocky, you are asking Galileo to shut the hell up, Mother Teresa to take a bribe and invest, and Neil Armstrong to stay on the ground like the rest of us.

The anti-incumbent voters are the only voters out there rejecting the status quo. And, I don’t think you have seen anything yet. Independents don’t participate in Primaries like they do in General elections. I think the big anti-incumbent hurt comes in Nov. Though, there have been some anti-incumbent upsets in the primaries.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 11, 2010 2:21 PM
Comment #302042

David,

“Rocky, you are asking Galileo to shut the hell up, Mother Teresa to take a bribe and invest, and Neil Armstrong to stay on the ground like the rest of us.”

I’m not asking anybody to do anything. I am merely pointing out, that at least at this point, nothing much has changed.

The change may very well take place, as you said, in November.

However, I for one am not holding my breath, and I don’t think anyone else should either.

Rocky

Posted by: Rocky Marks at June 11, 2010 2:45 PM
Comment #302046

Being a bit pedantic:

Galileo did shut up, not publishing until after his death, Mother Theresa did take bribes to further the church doctrine, meting out substandard care for the dying (See Christopher Hitchens assessment of Mother Theresa), and Neil Armstrong didn’t stay on the ground (he’s a private pilot), but did retire from space, and is living out a quiet life in Ohio.

I do agree the anti incumbent thing is a recent news meme that is DOA.

Chris Matthews is doing a piece on 6-16-10 on the rising Right Wing, which is much more salient to the current politik, IMO.

Posted by: gergle at June 11, 2010 4:43 PM
Comment #302074


Rocky, the story about Sarah Palin and her girls was just as interesting.

Does the 82 out of 84 point to the fact that people are afraid of change or perhaps the, my representative is a good one and everyone else has a bad one scenario? It is just the primaries, maybe two or three more of them will loose in the fall.

No one said it was going to be easy.

Posted by: jlw at June 11, 2010 11:57 PM
Comment #302176

gergle, anti-incumbency crosses the political spectrum. While Matthews is myopically focusing on the Right, he will ignore the rising anti-incumbent voters on the Left. And then there are the independents who now outnumber Dems and Reps as registered voters who are the fastest growing anti-incumbent voting block.

DOA? Not from what I am seeing in the research, polling, data, and growing support for a growing number of anti-incumbent organizations and outlets like Vote Out Incumbents Democracy.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 14, 2010 5:14 PM
Comment #302260

Was watching c-span a few minutes ago and a caller said he wanted to comment on campaign finance reform. Then he went into a litany of problems but before he could finish his comment with something like ‘and all these problems stem from the lack of campaign finance reform’ the moderator cut him off. One problem too many I guess.

But the caller was right on. IMO, all major money related problems are a direct cause of the influence of money in politics. Politics = money, money = politics. The more money (free speech) you have the more political influence you have.

Some will say that our problems will get worked out eventually or, that’s just politics as usual, etc. Some won’t see any problem or conflict of interest with the President receiving approx $1M in campaign support from BP.

IMO, the people won’t/can’t be represented by their elected leaders until the influence of money is removed from politics. Legislation will contine to be conducted with the emphasis on the big corporation, or ‘the money sink’. In most every case this will not bode well for the people.

A tiny exemplar in the realm of things: My electric service is changing from one co-op to another. The new co-op is going to charge a ‘connection fee’ when they take over. A connection fee for what? Already conncted. I’m sure if you scratch around you would find that ‘the government’ has ‘authorized’ this co-op to charge a connection fee.

And what about competition? One electric co-op and one telephone service provider in this area.

Two things are at the forefront for our problems. We have lost our moral compass and corporate personhood law. Until we deal forthrightly with those two issue we should not look for real reform of government.

Otherwise, we have the Socialistic-Corporcratic government we deserve.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at June 16, 2010 10:53 AM
Comment #302282

Too many voters are still love THEIR party, and wallowing in the partisan warfare.

But that’s their choice, and they will reap what they sow.

At any rate, the voters have the government that they elect, and re-elect, and re-elect, and re-elect, … , and re-elect, at least, until repeatedly rewarding failure, and repeatedly rewarding FOR-SALE, incompetent, and corrupt incumbent politicians with 90% re-election rates finally becomes too painful.

Posted by: d.a.n at June 16, 2010 11:11 PM
Comment #302298

I agree d.a.n. We need to assist congresspersons in changing their political attitude. We can do this by voting incumbents from office each and every time.

Here are some current issues to consider.

A Wash Post article reports that about 30 House speakers from around the country will visit Maryland for four days, hosted by Maryland’s House speaker and paid for by a few dozen local and national corporations. The bill is expected to be about $500k. For a donation of up to $25k lesser corporations can attend some of the functions. Under Md. law corporations can only give directly no more than $4k to a candidate every 4 years. However, there are no limits on how much Md. lawmakers can receive for the benefit of non-profit groups, including the State Legislative Leaders Foundation. Etc.

Approx 23k people have been killed in drug wars on the Mexican border since 2007. This year 3365 have been killed and if the trend continues through the year the total will come to 13k. To intimidate heads have been cut off and hearts cut out. Something like $10-50B in drug money keeps the pressure on to keep supply lines open into the US and Canada.

Eight Congresspersons are being investigated for holding fundraisers within 48 hours of a major House vote on Wall Street reform. Donations were received from business people with a financial stake in the bill.

What is the common thread relating these issues? Corporate Personhood. Wherever money and politics meet we find such problems. What about the credibility of the President in dealing with the oil spill after receiving $1M in campaign donations from BP? What about the Swiss gov’t and Swiss Banking sitting on the fence over suspected tax evasion accounts and UBS providing the retirement parachute for Phil Gramm?

We need to vote incumbents from office but we also need to abolish corporate personhood law. You can’t continually fight an oil spill and expect to clean it up. You have to go to the source and cap the flow. We can keep cleaning up government by voting incumbents from office but to cap the flow we have to abolish corporate personhood. That will require a 3rd party with a different political — - - -

Otherwise, we have the Socialistic-Corporcratic gov’t we deserve.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at June 17, 2010 10:19 AM
Comment #302330
Roy wrote: We have lost our moral compass and corporate personhood law. Until we deal forthrightly with those two issue we should not look for real reform of government.
No doubt about it.

We only have ourselves to thank for it.

Today, I was talking to a contractor (where I work).

He was from China.
I asked him how he came to be in the U.S.
He said he received a scholarship from Texas A&M.
And he also receivec a scholarship for a doctorate.

I knew U.S. colleges and universities were giving away scholarships to foreigners and illegal aliens.

Americans have exactly what they deserve, since they repeatedly reward incumbent politicians with 90% re-election rates, and corporations with trillions to gamble with and lose.

Posted by: d.a.n at June 17, 2010 10:30 PM
Comment #302345

Good point d.a.n. There has been a number of students with 4.0’s that have failed to gain entrance in Virginia’s major learning institutions. Also, note that half of graduate students are from foreign countries.

We all have questions we would like to ask:

Who is paying for the foreign students education? Could it be us, or US, or both?

What percentage of US students are rejected to provide space for the foreign students?

How much of the education dollar is being spent on foreign student support?

What foreign related loans/giveaways/bailouts is the Fed Reserve involved with? Audit the FED!

Often, the hardest part is knowing the question to ask. Do you have a question or two you would like answered?

Strange that every citzen is indebted by something like $100k, the gov’t by some $13T and foreign students are finding scholarships.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at June 18, 2010 10:05 AM
Comment #302436

Yes. Very strange indeed.
But no one seems to care.
Foreigners and illegal aliens can get scholarships, while American citizens with 4.0s can’t.
What’s up with that?

What’s up is teaching lazy Americans a lesson (from the point of view of some of the wealthy, and similar ilk).

At any rate, the voters have the government that they elect, and re-elect, and re-elect, and re-elect, … , and re-elect, at least, until repeatedly rewarding failure, and repeatedly rewarding FOR-SALE, incompetent, and corrupt incumbent politicians with 90% re-election rates finally becomes too painful.

Posted by: d.a.n at June 19, 2010 7:53 PM
Comment #302446

d.a.n. I think most people do care. I think their passivity or seemingly disinterest accrues through the lack of trust or a hopelessness that anything can be done to reform this broken or failed government.

By now we should realize that ‘hope for change’ isn’t working out to well. Fringe change will not lead to real government reform. We must acknowledge that, through voter negligence we have allowed the ‘voting public’ to be sidesteppted by the moneyed interest. You can’t change the odor of a cesspool by tossing in a few roses ever now and then.

In the game of chess/politics one player, the corporation, has been able to position themselves where they are about to check-mate the voting public by placing a couple of major pieces on the board; Corporate Personhood and Money Is Free Speech law. The ‘voting public’ has to make some sstute moves soon or the game is over.

Fortunately, the Founder’s provided for the voters to win the game. One, voters can change the political attitude and weaken the Corporacratic stranglehold on government. Two, the Founder’s provided an Article V Convention as a way for voters, having lost faith that government would reform itself as the need arose, to petition for a Convention where the peoples proposals could be ratified and the Constituion so amended. Currently, that chess piece is being held off the board by Congressional and Supreme Court rulings, clearly in opposition to the Founder’s intent. Three, the people can vote incumbents from office and change the political dynamics but to achieve real reform, which will be hard fought by the moneyed interest, will require a third party that can give focus to the a political movement. A party that will work to abolish Corporate Personhood and Money Is Free Speech law and work to implement campaign finance reform where all donations are made by individuals towards a public system in financing political campaigns.

By taking these three steps we can remove the influence of money from the political equation and implement laws that devoid of special interests influence. A government more representative of the people would surely follow, IMO.

Otherwise, we have the Socialistic-Corporacratic gov’t we deserve.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at June 20, 2010 11:50 AM
Comment #302493

How about some more tautology in following the money. Today’s Wash Post: BP taps well of District lobbyists. Interested parties are hiring lobbyists for both Dem’s and Rep’s. Between 09/01 and 10/03 BP spent approx $20M, Anadarko $4M, and Halliburton $1M. BP provided approx $1M for Obama’s presidential campaign. Would assume he will need that much or more come the 2012 elections.
Then there’s an article on Harrisburg, Pa. relating that the city has a $68M dollar bill coming due before year’s end. Same story for a number of cities across the country. Says the Fed Reserve Bank reports that states and cities have doubled their obligations in the past decade to $2.4T excluding $1T in unfunded pension and retiree health-care liabilities.
Then there is a less related but still pertinent article on PAC’s. Relates that one PAC, Philip A. Hart Democratic Club, exceeded revenues of $1.9M this election cycle but has donated a paltry $500 to political candidates in the past 16 months. Thrust of the article is “all contributors to PACs should keep in mind: caveat emptor—buyer beware. Once you turn over your money to a PAC, you lose all control of where it ends up.”
Another article relates that the Superfund, established 30 years ago to clean up toxic waste sites, is “facing a budget crunch” as the tax laws expired in 1995 and Congress didn’t reinstate them. Now, the Administration is working to refurnish the Superfund. One bill would raise about $19B over 10 years by taxing crude at 9.7 cents a barrel among other taxes. Since the fund went bust in 2003 Congress has appropriated ‘public funds’ to clean up ‘orphaned’ sites. Business, as usual, is looking to stick the taxpayer with the risk. Oil and petro’s are fighting back, threatening that such actions will cause more industry to move offshore, etc. There are about 1279 sites across the US identified for cleanup. The Wash. Navy yard dates back to the 1800s as a toxic site.
Common thread? Corporate Personhood and Money Is Free Speech law. Where there is an issue involving money you will find corporations looking to influence government. Hence, we have the best government money can buy. We can’t have any ‘clean’ legislation or real government reform until Corporate Personhood and Money Is Free Speech law is abolished.

Otherwise, we have the Socialistic-Corporacratic gov’t we deserve.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at June 21, 2010 7:52 PM
Comment #302512

vibram shoe, have to say I like your proposition. It’s a different approach to an antiquated project, ‘Zero distance with the ground’ etc. But it seems ‘fivefingered shoes’ is a poor choice of dictums. Would not fivetoed be more appropriate? I see this trend all through you post: ‘glove wrapping around your feet’ and I think a active toe would ‘stimulate’ your muscles rather than ‘simulate’ them. Also, am quite sure you have the wrong approach in using the word ‘cheap’. Most people would prefer to not be associated with anything ‘cheap’ even though a product may be so. I would go with something like ‘Vibram Living Shoes’ but its your call. Us centrists populists in the middle column don’t have the numbers to exact much change anyway.

Otherwise - - -

Posted by: Roy Ellis at June 22, 2010 10:00 AM
Comment #306728

There is a fundamental problem when society is forced to choose between two bad choices, and there is no alternative.

Hostage taking by such means is virtually guaranteed, and there is little recourse to the American people: it is the equivalent of being shot or stabbed as a choice of weapon.

Neither offers the choice for life.

For this reason alone, partisanship is ill-advised for a nation, but having sunk the last 200 years into it, adding a third may be the only choice.

Whether that produces yet a third choice of weapon is a prime consideration of citizens interested in options that don’t have hostage taking as the incentive for the political pressure that political parties generate.

Should political parties be outlawed as undue influence over the American people? Would anyone consider a democracy adequate to entertain such a structure as individual democracy rather than group power pressure?

Has the debate ever come up as to whether or not it could be practical?

Posted by: Pat at August 24, 2010 11:29 AM
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