Third Party & Independents Archives

Hey, Occupy Wall Street - - Over Here - - - - Over Hear!

The Occupy Wall Street movement has been impressive in numbers if short on focus. Generally, sharp focus on one or two issues is thought to encourage supporters and get them to turn out in large numbers. How this group was able to have such a good showing with such divergent viewpoints on as many divergent issues is astonishing.

Most of the their comments go to inequality and injustice in the system. Occasionally, you will hear an Occupier clearly nail it in making a statement like 'corporate greed is ruining this country', etc. It clearly seems like we are experience a redo of the first Gilded Age and the following Great Depression. The last decade or so has mirrored the Gilded Age and now we are experiencing recession or depression.

But, there is no doubt both periods were brought about by corporations winning personhood in 1886. Incredulous too, in that corporations were 'made' persons through the courts without ever a case being heard by he court as to whether corporations might be persons. A more recent and interesting read of the history of corporate personhood law brings out some seedy characters, one being Cyrus McCormick's brother, Stephen. Excerpt: "The Paris Commune was the first international incident followed daily in the United States. While President Barack Obama complains about the 24-hour news cycle today, its roots stretch back to Cyrus Field's transcontinental telegraph cable, which allowed the elites of America to focus intently on the two-month uprising and ultimate slaughter of thousands of Parisians. Cyrus Field's brother and his family were in Paris at the time, and a third brother, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Field, obsessively tracked the news back in the states. It was the Paris uprising that transformed Stephen Field from a mundanely corrupt judge in the paid service of the railroads to a zealous crusader for all corporations, with the aim of suppressing what he and other leaders saw as the threat of democracy from below." End excerpt.

While it seems implausible that such fraud and corruption could take place in the highest court in the land this piece of crap has served as law for 125 years. Now, well into the 2nd Gilded Age with no recovery in sight, the time is right to go back and correct a century plus of fraudulent law.

And, such an effort is well under way with Reclaim Democracy and Move To Amend leading the way. Thus far over 30 towns and municipalities have signed on to a resolution calling on their individual state to abolish corporate personhood. It would be a highly positive development if the Occupy Wall Street folks would get behind these two organizations and expedite the effort to abolish corporate personhood.

Otherwise, we have the Corpocracy we deserve.

Posted by Roy Ellis at November 17, 2011 9:47 PM
Comments
Comment #332140

Roy,

You do realize that ‘eliminating corporate personhood’ will do nothing to change Citizens United, right?

All you are doing now is eliminating the protections of people trying to run a business in an effective manner. If partners want to sign a contract, they will both have to be there. If large companies want to sign a contract, it will be impossible. Millions of jobs will be lost because companies will no longer be able to work efficiently through contract resolution and change of ownership/leadership, since the company will no longer be able to operate as a single entity.

Your hatred for the symptom, not the problem, will cause much more harm than good… But it might make you feel better in the short term, I guess.

BTW, the problem is not that a group of people you despise has learned how to control the massive power that of the government that they have acquired, but that anyone can. You are missing the forest for the trees.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 17, 2011 10:58 PM
Comment #332141

BTW, heard a great line tonight that I will be using…

Complaining without real solutions is just whining.

Enter OWS.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 17, 2011 10:58 PM
Comment #332144

roy

there’s no doubt that there are a small number in the OWS movement that are genuine. the rest are agitators and parasites. this will not end well. all these people have managed to do is disrupt the lives of average people who are just trying to go about there lives. any messege they may have had has been lost by completey pissing off the public in general.

Posted by: dbs at November 18, 2011 6:36 AM
Comment #332147

It never ceases to amaze me; the ignorance of the unwashed, uncircumcised philistines who call themselves OWS protestors. They are the blind being led by union, socialist, and communist thugs. What they are accomplishing is disrupting the lives of every day Americans who are trying to provide for their families. They are destroying the small businesses in these cities. A majority of them are homeless bums looking for free handouts and have no concept of the Constitution or the Bill of Rights. If they want to protest, let them protest the democrat politicians who have received the bulk of money from Wall Street. These pieces of shit call themselves the 99%; no, they are the 20% of liberal socialists who can’t stand to lose and urn to violence. I say arrest them all.. I wish some of the socialist defenders of these people and Obama would stop spewing their venom long enough to Google and research exactly who is supporting these people. How about the Rev. Wright, you remember, the one who was Obama’s mentor and pastor; who by the way, the left defended Obama against the teachings of this communist. How about Bill Ayres, who should be serving time in prison and who is now advising college students how to occupy Chicago. Or perhaps Van Jones, who would love nothing more than to see a race war in America. The list goes on; why don’t you guys on the left wake up to what is happening.

Posted by: Frank at November 18, 2011 9:34 AM
Comment #332152

Yes Rhinehold,

But the amendments go further, and allow congress the power to regulate campaign finance.

What a red herring about partners not being able to sign….did you dream this up on your own, or did you hear it on Glenn Beck?

One very large problem for the power structure is that there are many many young people active with OWS. While many of them may look a little scary, in my personal experience spending nights in a tent at my local Occupation, they are some sharp, and committed folks. Many of them feel that there is little to look forward to; they are very much invested in doing what it takes to bring change to the f%^&#d-up system.

Here’s something which may be very surprising:


http://lewrockwell.com/rep2/police-state-vs-occupy-wall-street.html

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Posted by: steve miller at November 18, 2011 2:57 PM
Comment #332153


Washington D.C. has sent out the welcome wagon to the OWS.

I think the OWS should change tactics and the name. I think they should abandon the occupy part in favor of one day a week mass civil disobedience demonstrations. If you have noticed, the marches draw a lot more participants than the occupation.

I also think they should concentrate on two or three specific issues, corporate personhood, Citizens United and my third choice would be repeal of Gramm, Leach, Bliley.

Their name should reflect the Washington/Wall Street connection.

A change in tactics is need to force the powerful right wing propaganda apparatus to attack the issues rather than trying to discredit the issues by attacking the movement.

The occupation is wearing thin on the public, almost as much as the right wing is, but the issues and the sentiment are gaining support.

“unwashed, uncircumcised philistines”

A perfect example of why the right wing BS is growing thin with the general public.


Posted by: jlw at November 18, 2011 3:42 PM
Comment #332155

“It would be a highly positive development if the Occupy Wall Street folks would get behind these two organizations and expedite the effort to abolish corporate personhood.”

What…walk and chew gum at the same time? Do you honestly believe that OWS support could expedite anything? Can you give examples of this happening?

Posted by: Royal Flush at November 18, 2011 3:57 PM
Comment #332156
What a red herring about partners not being able to sign….did you dream this up on your own, or did you hear it on Glenn Beck?

Not listening to Glenn Beck, I wouldn’t know if he has addressed the purpose of incorporation, but having run several businesses and charities that are incorporated for that exact purpose, it comes from experience and knowledge of what the function of a corporation is.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 18, 2011 3:59 PM
Comment #332157
But the amendments go further, and allow congress the power to regulate campaign finance.

Yes, the amendments will allow the federal government to limit the free speech of the citizens of the United States. Why people think this is a good idea, I have no idea…

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 18, 2011 4:38 PM
Comment #332165

Rhinehold, I’m working on a new slogan as well… ‘Lizard Loafered Lobbyists’ or perhaps, ‘Lily Livered Lizard Loafered Lobbyists’. Or, maybe just stick with a brief version, ‘Newt’.

‘hatred for the symptom, not the problem’ - - - hatred doesn’t fit the syntax for the middle column, Rhinehold. Doesn’t make it thru the filter for a pure centrist/populist expression. Easy to understand corpocracy, greed, corruption, etc. Synonymous with any good ole boys network. Friends in high places mixing with them lizard loafered lobbyists, applies.

Too many key strokes, too little time … I’ll get back to you on the merits of abolishing corporate personhood. But, let me try to assure you that the world won’t come to an end if we do so.

dbs, agree with you on the makeup of OWS. The majority of them are making quite a sacrifice in bringing issues of corporate greed, inequality, injustice, and similar to the public square. I suspect they are getting plenty of bad advice from Van Jones and his ilk. It seems their original intent was to go with a nonfocused agenda making it difficult for their antagonists to deliver a concerted counter-punch. In general, I support OWS and am hopeful they will congeal under a centrist/populist agenda at some point.

Steve Miller, a big 10-4 ‘good buddy’ on your response.

Jlw, agree OWS should settle in on a couple of issues, preferably corporate personhood and get behind Reclaim Democracy and Move To Amend and help us to remove the money influence from govt/politics.

Royal Flush, it ain’t over until it’s over. Still a work in progress.


Posted by: Roy Ellis at November 18, 2011 9:45 PM
Comment #332194
pure centrist/populist expression

It’s unfortunate that you think populism is somehow centrist… The reality is that populism is more akin to authoritarian. Mob rule. All you have to do is use fear or sloganeering (as you are already showing signs of) to control the masses to roll right over the rights of the minority.

BTW, The only reason OWS has been as midly successful has it has been has been the same reason the Tea Party was at first, it was very unformed. Once they start talking policies, which they are starting to do now, it will cause those who are joining in thinking that the movement speaks for them to realize that it does not.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 19, 2011 2:19 PM
Comment #332199

Rhinehold, Are you basing this populism as authoritarian idea upon the Tea Party? I would agree that they do use fear and sloganeering (or propaganda as I call it)to spread their message, but their message is one of economic liberty for the minority at the expense of the majority which to me is authoritarian. But then conservatism as it gets more extreme over time has been a front for authoritarian leaders to influence the easily led.

Posted by: j2t2 at November 19, 2011 7:18 PM
Comment #332200

Darn it, you sloganed first, Rhinehold!!

Some more amplifying information on corporate personhood. In looking around on the web I am surprised at how much information is out there relating the OWS to
corporate personhood
.

Here is some information explaining limitations on corporate charters pre-corporate personhood law. Excerpt: “After fighting a revolution to end this exploitation, our country’s founders retained a healthy fear of corporate power and wisely limited corporations exclusively to a business role. Corporations were forbidden from attempting to influence elections, public policy, and other realms of civic society.
Initially, the privilege of incorporation was granted selectively to enable activities that benefited the public, such as construction of roads or canals. Enabling shareholders to profit was seen as a means to that end.
The states also imposed conditions (some of which remain on the books, though unused) like these:

* Corporate charters (licenses to exist) were granted for a limited time and could be revoked promptly for violating laws.

* Corporations could engage only in activities necessary to fulfill their chartered purpose.

* Corporations could not own stock in other corporations nor own any property that was not essential to fulfilling their chartered purpose.

* Corporations were often terminated if they exceeded their authority or caused public harm.

* Owners and managers were responsible for criminal acts committed on the job.

* Corporations could not make any political or charitable contributions nor spend money to influence law-making.

For 100 years after the American Revolution, legislators maintained tight control of the corporate chartering process. Because of widespread public opposition, early legislators granted very few corporate charters, and only after debate. Citizens governed corporations by detailing operating conditions not just in charters but also in state constitutions and state laws. Incorporated businesses were prohibited from taking any action that legislators did not specifically allow.

investors had equal voting rights. Interlocking directorates were outlawed. Shareholders had the right to remove directors at will.

In Europe, charters protected directors and stockholders from liability for debts and harms caused by their corporations. American legislators explicitly rejected this corporate shield. The penalty for abuse or misuse of the charter was not a plea bargain and a fine, but dissolution of the corporation.” End excerpt.

And, opinion offered by a Catholic education group: “Ten years after granting corporations rights in the Santa Clara case, the Supreme Court, in Plessy v Ferguson, approved “separate but equal” racial segregation. Thus the court interpreted the Fourteenth Amendment, which was explicitly passed to assist former slaves and not corporations, to give rights to corporations while denying full rights to the exact people who were supposed to be granted full legal protection. As two commentators note:

“In less than 30 years, African Americans had effectively lost their legal personhood rights while corporations had acquired them.” End quote.

Here is a Libertarian article that gives confidence that the contractural world would continue to function without corporate personhood. I found this one article that trends toward life after abolishment of corporate personhood. “What would change if corporations did not have personhood? The first and main effect would be that a barrier would be removed that is preventing democratic change - just as the abolition of slavery tore down an insurmountable legal block, making it possible to pass laws to provide full rights to the newly freed slaves. After corporate personhood is abolished, new legislation will be possible. Here are a few examples. If “corporate persons” no longer had First Amendment right of free speech, we could prohibit all corporate political activity, such as lobbying and contributions to political candidates and parties. If “corporate persons” were not protected against search without a warrant under the Fourth Amendment, then corporate managers couldn’t turn OSHA and the EPA inspectors away if they make surprise, unscheduled searches. If “corporate persons” weren’t protected against discrimination under the 14th Amendment, corporations like Wal-Mart couldn’t force themselves into communities that don’t want them.”

So, it looks like the OWS is way ahead of me. They seem to be ALREADY THERE!!

Otherwise -

Posted by: Roy Ellis at November 19, 2011 8:28 PM
Comment #332202
Rhinehold, Are you basing this populism as authoritarian idea upon the Tea Party?

Um, no I am basing it on the idea of political philosophy…

but their message is one of economic liberty for the minority at the expense of the majority which to me is authoritarian.

I would suggest looking up what authoritarian means then…

But then conservatism as it gets more extreme over time has been a front for authoritarian leaders to influence the easily led.

As has the progressive party/movement. Pitting people against each other, class warfare, eat the rich, violations of civil liberties to address those concerns… very authoritarian.

When the left realizes they are participating in the politics of greed to put themselves at the helm of our current authoritarian government, perhaps I would be able to rejoin the Democratic party, but I don’t see it happening, the power that they want to weild is as alluring as it is to the corporations.

If “corporate persons” no longer had First Amendment right of free speech

They don’t know. I don’t how many times I have to tell you this until you actually read the decision and see for yourself, but corporations have not been given ‘free speech rights’ as persons.

such as lobbying and contributions to political candidates and parties.

Corporations are currently not allowed to give directly to candidates, that did not change with Citizens United.

Again, you should really understand what you are fighting against before making such statements.

As for the alternatives to ‘corporations’, those legal constructs are just what corporations are, they would just have a different name. Are you saying that you would be ok with large companies operating as single entities, amassing wealth and influencing the power we have given (or has been taken from us) to the government if we just called them something else?

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 19, 2011 11:20 PM
Comment #332206

BTW, you seemed to have missed this last part of the link you provided…

Some final comments. Note that the left-libertarians’ confused adoption of the state’s underlying rationale for monopolizing, regulating, and taxing corporate-firms causes them to conclude that the US economy is basically dominated by companies that are in reality parts of the state. Instead of viewing only some firms as closely in bed with the state—defense contractors, say—they view virtually all of corporate America as agents of the state. Even a Walmart or Apple are thought of as parts of the state—in a fascist sense, that is: they are nominally private but really parts of the state because of the various state “benefits” and “privileges” these companies receive. (See my post Apple vs. Microsoft: Which Benefits more from Intellectual Property?) Walmart benefits—maybe disproportionately—from state subsidies to highways etc. (though the local mom n’ pop shops ship things in from far away too). Nevermind the corporate taxes and SEC regulations. It “benefits” from the “privilege” of the state grant of entity status (which it does not need to exist, as Hessen shows) and from exempting its shareholders from general liability from torts of employees (which they do not need since they would not be personally liable anyway in a free society; and which could be taken care of easily anyway by a simple and cheap extension of D&O insurance; and which the corporation usually has sufficient assets to handle in any case).

Take Walmart: the left-libertarian thinks it is unlibertarian (in a “left-thick” sense) because it has bosses and hierarchies that allows it to “boss people around” in ways it could not get away with on the free(d) market. It is only able to get away with these thick-libertarian oppressions and exploitation because of the net benefit and privileges it gets from the state. The non-left-libertarian agrees Walmart and other companies’ structure etc. is distorted because of the state but sees no reason at all why a Walmart of some type could not exist on the free market—in fact, I would think it highly likely Walmart could do even better, shorn of the costs the state imposes on it too. (That is not to say that there would not also be more local, small, diverse companies, more self-employment, more self-sufficiency, more early retirement. The free market would be rich and diverse.) Even an Apple Inc., which now does benefit in some ways from patent and copyright law that it uses to suppress competition, could exist and prosper, by selling high-end hardware, like the Mercedes of computers—even if it would be less able to stop clones or maintain its closed model.

In the recent debate on Roderick Long’s blog, some of the left-libertarian commentators imply that virtually every one of the top 500 public corporations in the US is illegitimate, and part of the state. This of course implies that many others are too, and even that a vast swath, if not most, of the US economy is effectively part of the state. Now I’ve detected this implicit view before, and I’ve (informally, in blog posts and comments) observed one problem with this view is that it implies that the apparent “capitalist” prosperity we see is all a mirage. (See Is Macy’s Part of the State? A Critique of Left Deviationists.) This is because, if you accept Mises’s calculation argument, a centrally run economy cannot be economically prosperous. If most of corporate America is “really” part of the state, then the calculation argument means we must be in a USSR-style shambles, despite appearances to the contrary. Sure, I realize the GDP measure has methodological problems, and that the state exaggerates and propagandizes, but what’s more plausible: that we are really all poor, living in a 1970s Soviet-Style morass with just faked prosperity (hey, maybe we never made it out of the Malthusian trap in the 1800s after all; maybe the whole Industrial Revolution is a mirage!); or that there is actually a vast amount of prosperity generated by the underling genuinely free market economy despite the state’s depradations? As far as I can see, the left-libertarians have to argue the former; I think most sensible libertarians will take the latter view.

The former view is what results from the idea that most state corporations are “net beneficiaries” of the state. As the state cannot produce wealth but can only destroy it, if the bulk of US enterprise is a net beneficiary of the state it must come from the remainder of society, meaning an overall impoverishment for everyone—meaning the apparent prosperity and productivity of the last 20, 50, 200 years is a mirage. Simply declaring “hierarchical” firms that have a corporate charter “net beneficiaries” of the state is obviously the wrong criterion, since it leads to absurd results: it leads you to deny the evidence of free market generated prosperity that is before our eyes. (This may be one reason Kevin Carson objects repeatedly to my Misesian calculation argument along these lines.) Obviously we need a more selective way of determining whether a given firm is a net beneficiary of state aid or not. It has to be a minority of firms—otherwise we would be living in a USSR-style third world shambles. A firm that is heavily dependent on something that would not appear the same way in a free society would be suspect, such as the military defense contractors. Firms heavily dependent on subsidies, or IP (like Microsoft), would be more suspect than others, but even here, Microsoft provides a useful product, albeit at prices inflated by its copyright monopoly. It may not be possible to develop rigorous criteria, but why do we need to? We have systemic and economic reasons—plus common sense and experience dealing with many firms in society that obviously do more harm than good—to doubt the claim that most of corporate America is a net beneficiary of the state. Hell, most of us even think that individual humans who rise to the top of power, like Barack Obama, are harmed in a deep sense by achieving “success” and power the way they do.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 19, 2011 11:46 PM
Comment #332219

Rhinehold, you must be in a minority of ‘1’ if you don’t believe corporations are persons with certain human rights, free speech being one of them, as guaranteed by the Constitution.

In a stunning reversal of the nation’s federal campaign finance laws, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 Thursday that free-speech rights permit groups like corporations and labor unions to directly spend on political campaigns, prompting the White House to pledge “forceful” action to undercut the decision.

In a written statement, President Obama said the high court had “given a green light to a new stampede of special interest money in our politics.” He called it a “major victory” for Wall Street, health insurance companies and other interests which would diminish the influence of Americans who give small donations. Obama pledged to “work immediately” with Congress to develop a “forceful response.”
Free speech guarantees are supposed to ensure vibrant civic debate, but it is corporations that dominate the public debate which should be the province of an engaged citizenry. Corporations take advantage of the speech rights which the Supreme Court says the Constitution provides to them, to dominate the campaign funding process, drown out citizen speech, contest advertising restrictions and block citizen organizing.

Corporations have over-reached to the point where the tide is turning against them. A series of events; money is free speech law, Citizens United Vs FEC, OWS and the general malaise of the economy has worked to sway public opinion.

Aware that the 1% the 99% are complaining about has seen their wealth increase by 276% while the rest of us are in the blow 50 percentile and dwaining, and that President Obama is expected to take in $1B in campaign contributions for the 2012’s encourages me to look for ways to remove the money influence from politics/gov’t. If the wealthy elite working thru their corporations can buy this gov’t then what chance does the smaller, developing countries around their world have?

Cut the umbilical cord - abolish corporate personhood.

Otherwise - - -


Posted by: Roy Ellis at November 20, 2011 3:11 PM
Comment #332223

With folks like Jack Abramoff telling us we need to remove the money influence from politics/gov’t you’d think people would take it to heart in large number. Of course, the only way to separate the pol’s and corporate money is by abolishing corporate personhood.

Otherwise - - -

Posted by: Roy Ellis at November 20, 2011 3:57 PM
Comment #332224

Meant to include the following:

ABRAMOFF: Well, I think the great tragedy in American politics is what is legal, not what is illegal. The truth is there are not a lot of Jack Abramoffs who are pushing the envelope so far that they go over the line. They’re very few frankly. The problem is what’s legal and that’s what I write about in the book. The thing that people should be upset about and they are upset about is that all of these kind of little deals are legal and that’s what America’s got to start focusing on.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at November 20, 2011 4:00 PM
Comment #332226


Apparently Obama’s plan for convincing Republicans to denounce Citizens United is to grab up the lions share of corporate and union donations for himself. The Koch Bros. may go bankrupt trying to defeat him.

I rather doubt that we will ever create a perfect union where the rights of the individual, the minority and the majority are in perfect harmony. Despite the animosity between the left and the right, and the dissatisfaction of the majority, Americans aren’t in a hurry to immigrate to that mythic land where their individual believes are sacrosanct and the pastures are always greener.

An examination of our elected officials will reveal that 95% to 99% of them are authoritarian, left or right.

Roy, populist centrist is an adoption agency and enabling mechanism rather than a policy maker. I would refer to it as the true ‘Silent Majority’ that enables the right or the left. It enabled the progressives in what was known as the Progressive Era, it adopted the New Deal, and over the last three decades, it has supported the conservative resurgence. Cracks are appearing in that support because of the rights attacks on the Progressive Era, attacks on the New Deal legislation, and because of the corporate/government agenda.

Posted by: jlw at November 20, 2011 4:47 PM
Comment #332228
In a stunning reversal of the nation’s federal campaign finance laws, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 Thursday that free-speech rights permit groups like corporations and labor unions to directly spend on political campaigns, prompting the White House to pledge “forceful” action to undercut the decision.

Perhaps I am in a minority if ‘1’, but my ‘1’ is going off of the facts, not rhetoric.

The Citizens United decision did *NOT* say that corporations had free speech rights, it stated that groups of individuals could not have their free speech rights violated, even when collected within a union or corporation.

It also did *NOT* provide the ability for corporations or unions to donate to political campaigns. It reaffirmed that the federal government can make laws blocking any donations from a union or corporation to a politician, even if not directly, if it can be shown that it acted in concert with those campaigns.

Again, I direct you to the actual decision to read, since it is clear you have not read it and are acting on rhetoric…

http://www.scotusblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/citizens-opinion.pdf

The law before us is an outright ban, backed by criminal sanctions. Section 441b makes it a felony for all corporations—including nonprofit advocacy corporations—either to expressly advocate the election or defeat of candidates or to broadcast electioneering communications within 30 days of a primary election and 60 days of a general election. Thus, the following acts would all be felonies under §441b: The Sierra Club runs an ad, within the crucial phase of 60 days before the general election, that exhorts the public to disapprove of a Congressman who favors logging in national forests; the National Rifle Association publishes a book urging the public to vote for the challenger because the incumbent U. S. Senator supports a handgun ban; and the American Civil Liberties Union creates a Web site telling the public to vote for a Presiden tial candidate in light of that candidate’s defense of free speech. These prohibitions are classic examples of censorship.
At least since the latter part of the 19th century, the laws of some States and of the United States imposed a ban on corporate direct contributions to candidates.
The question was in the background of United States v. CIO, 335 U. S. 106 (1948). There, a labor union endorsed a congressional candidate in its weekly periodical. The Court stated that “the gravest doubt would arise in our minds as to [the federal expenditure prohibition’s] constitutionality” if it were construed to suppress that writing.

(McCain Feingold allowed for the supression of writing)

If the First Amendment has any force, it prohibits Congress from fining or jailing citizens, or associations of citizens, for simply engaging in political speech. If the antidistortion rationale were to be accepted, however, it would permit Government to ban political speech simply because the speaker is an association that has taken on the corporate form. … Austin’s antidistortion rationale would produce the dangerous, and unacceptable, consequence that Congress could ban political speech of media corporations.
Even if §441b’s expenditure ban were constitutional, wealthy corporations could still lobby elected officials, although smaller corporations may not have the resources to do so. And wealthy individuals and unincorporated associations can spend unlimited amounts on independent expenditures. 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.
With regard to large direct contributions, Buckley reasoned that they could be given “to secure a political quid pro quo,” id., at 26, and that “the scope of such pernicious practices can never be reliably ascertained,” id., at 27. The practices Buckley noted would be covered by bribery laws if a quid pro quo arrangement were proved. The Court, in consequence, has noted that restrictions on direct contributions are preventative, because few if any contributions to candidates will involve quid pro quo arrangements. The Buckley Court, nevertheless, sustained limits on direct contributions in order to ensure against the reality or appearance of corruption. That case did not extend this rationale to independent expenditures, and the Court does not do so here.

(Here, the court makes it clear it does NOT alter in any way the limit on corporations to make direct contributions to candidates)

When word concerning the plot of the movie Mr. Smith Goes to Washington reached the circles of Government, some officials sought, by persuasion, to discourage its distribution. Under Austin, though, officials could have done more than discourage its distribution—they could have banned the film. After all, it, like Hillary, was speech funded by a corporation that was critical of Members of Congress. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington may be fiction and caricature; but fiction and caricature can be a powerful force. Modern day movies, television comedies, or skits on Youtube.com might portray public officials or public policies in unflattering ways. Yet if a covered transmission during the blackout period creates the background for candidate endorsement or opposition, a felony occurs solely because a corporation, other than an exempt media corporation, has made the “purchase, payment, distribution, loan, advance, deposit, or gift of money or anything of value” in order to engage in political speech. Speech would be suppressed in the realm where its necessity is most evident: in the public dialogue preceding a real election. Governments are often hostile to speech, but under our law and our tradition it seems stranger than fiction for our Government to make this political speech a crime. Yet this is the statute’s purpose and design. Some members of the public might consider Hillary to be insightful and instructive; some might find it to be neither high art nor a fair discussion on how to set the Nation’s course; still others simply might suspend judgment on these points but decide to think more about issues and candidates. Those choices and assessments, however are not for the Government to make. “The First Amendment underwrites the freedom to experiment and to create in the realm of thought and speech. Citizens must be free to use new forms, and new forums, for the expression of ideas. The civic discourse belongs to the people, and the Government may not prescribe the means used to conduct it.”
The dissent says that when the Framers “constitutionalized the right to free speech in the First Amendment, it was the free speech of individual Americans that they had in mind.” That is no doubt true. All the provisions of the Bill of Rights set forth the rights of individual men and women—not, for example, of trees or polar bears. But the individual person’s right to speak includes the right to speak in association with other individual persons. Surely the dissent does not believe that speech by the Republican Party or the Democratic Party can be censored because it is not the speech of “an individual American.” It is the speech of many individual Americans, who have associated in a common cause, giving the leadership of the party the right to speak on their behalf. The association of individuals in a business corporation is no different—or at least it cannot be denied the right to speak on the simplistic ground that it is not “an individual American.”
Posted by: Rhinehold at November 20, 2011 5:03 PM
Comment #332229
The over-the-top reactions to Citizens United reflect a view of corporations as giant, soulless automatons that are fine for producing goods and services in a regulated environment but bound to wreak havoc if let loose in the halls of political power. That view obscures the fact that corporations, no matter how large or profit-driven, are by definition associations of individuals who have joined together for a common purpose. It also misleadingly suggests that behemoths such as Wal-Mart and Exxon Mobil are typical corporations, when in fact the vast majority of the 6 million or so corporations registered in the United States are small businesses or nonprofits.

“In 2010 almost everything is incorporated,” notes Allison Hayward, a former George Mason University law professor who recently became vice president of policy at the Center for Competitive Politics, which favors deregulation of political speech. “Anything you want to do as a group with other people—apart from the context where partnerships might work, like practicing law—you’re going to do through a corporate form of some kind.” Civil society, including churches, charitable organizations, and grassroots political groups of every interest and ideology, consists largely of corporations.

For an illustration, one need look no further than the case the Supreme Court decided. Citizens United, founded by the conservative activist Floyd Brown in 1988, is not a huge corporation seeking subsidies or permission to pollute. It is a nonprofit, ideological organization with an annual budget of $12 million that wanted to run a documentary about Hillary Clinton on pay-per-view TV. It was forbidden to do so, under threat of fine and imprisonment, because a) Clinton was running for the Democratic presidential nomination, and b) the documentary made her look bad. The movie therefore violated the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, a.k.a. McCain-Feingold, which banned “electioneering communications,” defined as TV or radio ads sponsored by unions or corporations that mention a candidate for federal office within 30 days of a primary or 60 days of a general election.

Contrary to all the rhetoric about corporations drowning out the voice of the people, corporations are the voice of the people—people who pool their resources because they hate Hillary Clinton, love the rainforest, worry about the national debt, support gay marriage, think abortion is murder, oppose gun control, or even believe that corporations have too much influence on politics. McCain-Feingold told these groups they were not allowed to talk about their issues close to an election if the discussion happened to mention any politicians running for federal office.

http://reason.com/archives/2010/11/09/you-are-now-free-to-speak-abou/singlepage

Less than a week after Citizens United, Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Md.) gave a speech on the floor of the House in which she explained why she was introducing a constitutional amendment aimed at reversing the decision. “If the [corporations don’t] like what this congresswoman is doing,” she said, “they’ll just forget the voters, buy TV ads, send robocalls, send a lot of mail, and beat her in November. A law won’t fix this; we have to fix it in the Constitution.” Can corporations really “forget the voters” when the whole point of their TV ads, robocalls, and direct mail is to convince voters that Congress would be a better institution without Donna Edwards?

This may be one of those occasions when the corporations are right. The last thing Congress needs is yet another legislator who equates her own electoral prospects with the fate of the republic, let alone one who wants to amend the Constitution so that it better serves her political career. But even when the arguments for requiring balance in political debate have a less self-interested tinge, there is no escaping the fact that we are discussing the merits of censorship, a debate the Framers thought they had settled. “What these guys are basically saying,” Smith observes, “is ‘we don’t like the First Amendment because we don’t like the speech of particular people.’ Essentially they’re pitting their wisdom against the wisdom of the Founders. The basic idea of the First Amendment was that this is the kind of thing we really don’t trust the government to do.”

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 20, 2011 5:08 PM
Comment #332234

Rhinehold, corporations and the courts would say you are correct. The other 99% would say I am correct.

The law also prohibits contributions from corporations and labor unions. This prohibition applies to any incorporated organization, profit or nonprofit. For example, the owner of an incorporated “mom and pop” grocery store is not permitted to use a business account to make contributions. Instead, the owner would have to use a personal account. A corporate employee may make contributions through a nonrepayable corporate drawing account, which allows the individual to draw personal funds against salary, profits or other compensation.

Excerpt:

As Democrats and Republicans spar over whether foreign money is polluting the midterm elections, a simple point is often overlooked: Hundreds of foreign corporations already play an integral and perfectly legal role in American politics through their U.S. subsidiaries.

Political-action committees connected to foreign-based corporations have donated nearly $60 million to candidates and parties over the past decade, including $12 million since 2009, federal contribution records show. Top donors this cycle include PACs tied to British drugmakers GlaxoSmithKline and AstraZeneca, which together account for $1.1 million; Belgium’s Anheuser-Busch InBev, with $650,000; and Credit Suisse Securities, at $350,000.

The donations must come from U.S. citizens or residents, and they make up a small fraction of overall political giving. Nonetheless, the role of foreign firms and their U.S. subsidiaries has become particularly sensitive in this year’s emotionally charged midterm campaigns, which have featured widespread voter dismay over the economy and eruptions of strident anti-foreign rhetoric from both parties.

Democrats have made a campaign issue over speculation that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce may be using foreign dues to help pay for a $75 million pro-Republican ad campaign, a charge the organization adamantly denies. White House advisor David Axelrod, appearing on CNN’s “State of the Union,” on Sunday attempted to shift the thrust of the criticism to the more general issue of undisclosed donors. End.

From a Washington Post Article “When Democrats unsuccessfully pushed this year for the Disclose Act, which would have required more disclosure of political donors and tightened restrictions on the political activities of foreign-based corporations, those companies were particularly alarmed by proposed language they said would outlaw their U.S.-run PACs. Their complaint led to early changes in the bill brokered by Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.).

But the Organization for International Investment, a lobbying group representing U.S. subsidiaries of foreign corporations, remained opposed to the gist of the legislation, according to those involved in the debate. The bill was twice filibustered by Republicans in the Senate.
Nancy McLernon, president and chief executive of the U.S. subsidiaries group, said portions of the bill would have unfairly penalized U.S.-based companies with overseas parents. She also decried the growing political rhetoric aimed at foreign companies, including those with U.S. operations.”

“It’s very disappointing that in 2010, some politicians are still trying to do this us-versus-them that no longer exists,” McLernon said. “We will be heading down the wrong path if we continue to put flags on these companies. Other countries are turning away from that.”

Go Big Money!! Say, can’t you see the Supreme Court taking these ‘foreign nationals’ to the cleaners, diluting their companies to zero, terminating their ‘in-perpetuity’ corporations. But, maybe congress would get to them first, maybe lock the corporation up for a few years, yeah!! Like OWS, I’ll believe corporations are people when Texas executes one.

Just so amazed that a ‘group’ of people would sit on their hands while corporate personhood was frauded into the Constitution, while money was equated to free speech and while we are now into globalised candidates/incumbents. My nightmares are complaining about a lack of sleep… .

Otherwise - - -

Posted by: Roy Ellis at November 20, 2011 6:33 PM
Comment #332235
corporations and the courts would say you are correct. The other 99% would say I am correct.

I see you missed this: “Contrary to all the rhetoric about corporations drowning out the voice of the people, corporations are the voice of the people—people who pool their resources because they hate Hillary Clinton, love the rainforest, worry about the national debt, support gay marriage, think abortion is murder, oppose gun control, or even believe that corporations have too much influence on politics. McCain-Feingold told these groups they were not allowed to talk about their issues close to an election if the discussion happened to mention any politicians running for federal office.”

You want to keep going after ‘the rich’, whatever your motivation, yet all you do is support laws and deride decisions that protect the millions and millions of americans who are members of some corporation or another in order to pool their funds to make their political speech heard. The Sierra Club, the NRA, NAACP, ACLU, etc are all corporations. And you want to shut them up.

Censorship is not a good thing, not what this country was founded upon and definately something that the minority (yes, even the 1%) need to have defended from the mob rule that you ascribe to.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 20, 2011 6:50 PM
Comment #332236


Rhinehold, what happened to ‘one person, one vote’? What term best defines a small vocal (wealthy) minority in control of a mostly silent majority? Socialist. Are you satisfied with a government wholly owned by corporations OR their owners?
You seem to infer that whatever might be wrong with government the voters can fix it. I would agree so long as it doesn’t go against the grain for corporate interests. Who put corporate personhood into law, millions upon millions of voters or a handful of railroad barons? And, w/o corporations as persons ever being heard in a case in law!
http://endofcapitalism.com/2010/01/23/corporate-personhood-and-battle-for-soul-democracy Excerpt: “On Thursday, The Supreme Court of the United States decided that corporations could now spend unlimited amounts of money on political candidates, opening the door for billions of dollars from Exxon, Pfizer, Blackwater, Lockheed Martin and others to further buy off our representatives in state and national office. The decision affirms the legal notion that corporations have “personhood”, giving them every First Amendment right associated therewith. In fact, their rights go above and beyond that of an actual human, as normal citizens can only donate some $2,400 to a candidate for a specific election. This voice of the people will be drowned out by the literally billions that can now be spent by corporations. End.
So, if I give a buck and the corporations give a couple of million bucks who is likely to best be represented through gov’t.
Time for common sense to prevail; corporations aren’t persons, money is not speech, and pigs don’t really fly.
One, a few, or a thousand wrongs don’t make a right. Time to go back and correct the record, IMO.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at November 20, 2011 7:47 PM
Comment #332238
Rhinehold, what happened to ‘one person, one vote’?

It still exists, last time I checked. Are some people getting more than one vote?

Who put corporate personhood into law, millions upon millions of voters or a handful of railroad barons?

You still want to use that ‘term’, though you use it wrongly, however it was millions and millions of voters that put it into place. Sorry to point out the facts to you but there is still one vote per person in the US and if you can’t win people over in the discussions that go on because those that you disagree with are allowed to speak, that’s just tough.

Your ‘excerpt’ is BS as I have already proven, you don’t want to listen to facts and logic, you want to rail at the heavens with emotive rhetoric. And you are free to do that. But don’t be surprised when people understand that limiting speech of anyone is censorship, no matter how strongly worded the sloagneering that you want to keep using is.

Corporations are not people. They are groups of people. Groups of people still have rights.

Speech is not money, but speech is accessed through the use of money (publishing a book, a documentary, an ad) and limiting the speech by trying to cripple the ability for people to make their speech hear is still censorship.

You can try go ‘go back and correct the record’, but as has already been shown, it will change nothing. The problem is that government has too much power, not that ‘the wrong people’ are gaining control of that power.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 20, 2011 8:39 PM
Comment #332239

A great example, there is a petition from a local politician on ads all over the internet (bought with money, btw) and when I went to the site and stated “Support Censorship, sign this petition!”, my comment was immediately deleted.

If you want free speech, that means free speech for all, even people you disagree with, dislike or are envious of. It’s easy to support rights for people we agree with, it is more to support it for those you disagree with.

Be more.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 20, 2011 8:41 PM
Comment #332242

Rhinehold, equating mob rule to a healthy, voter based democracy seems a bit strange. I’m not suggesting we squelch corporate advertising for one issue or another. I, like Jack Abramoff, am suggesting that we remove the influence of money from politics/gov’t. The Only way that can be done is to remove the ‘personhood’ from corporations.

Abolish corporate personhood and we could have free and fair elections. One example would be to send ALL donations through an accounting entity where ALL donations are bundled together and shipped to another entity. Thereby, cutting any audit trail. This second entity would be reponsible for disbursing funds to parties/candidates based on some set of rules/law.

Would put us squarely back to ‘one person, one vote’ which pretty much defines a democracy.

What is your preference, Rhinehold? Best gov’t money can buy or ‘one person, one vote’?

But, until we remove the money influence we will continue to be drug down the road by the corporate elite, IMO.

Otherwise - - -

Posted by: Roy Ellis at November 20, 2011 8:58 PM
Comment #332243
Rhinehold, equating mob rule to a healthy, voter based democracy seems a bit strange.

It wouldn’t if you had read the words of our founding fathers who pointed out it was just that. That is why they instituted a republic, with protections for the minority against the will of the majority.

I, like Jack Abramoff, am suggesting that we remove the influence of money from politics/gov’t. The Only way that can be done is to remove the ‘personhood’ from corporations.

Your ‘solution’ would have no effect. People with money would still combine their funds and influence politics as they have always done. You are living in a dream world…

Abolish corporate personhood and we could have free and fair elections.

Again, Citizens United has nothing to do with corporate personhood (I will repeat this every time you say it, maybe you will understand the facts if I do it enough).

And limiting political speech to the 1% (how else with the 99% combine their voices to fight the 1% other than freely associating together to make that speech?) will do nothing to solve what you see as the issue, it will just raise to the top another monied behemoth that you will want people to knock down, until only those people you agree with have the right to speak.

Best gov’t money can buy or ‘one person, one vote’?

We currently have one person, one vote, despite your nonsensical suggestion that we don’t. I will keep it that way AND allow everyone to continue to speak. Which is why I and the ACLU fought for and supported Citizens United.

But, until we remove the money influence we will continue to be drug down the road by the corporate elite, IMO.

Yeah, who needs the NAACP, ACLU and the like to be able to ‘speak’. We should be shutting them up! *rolls eyes*

More from the decision you refuse to read:

But to return to, and summarize, my principal point, which is the conformity of today’s opinion with the original meaning of the First Amendment. The Amendment is written in terms of “speech,” not speakers. Its text offers no foothold for excluding any category of speaker, from single individuals to partnerships of individuals, to unincorporated associations of individuals, to incorporated associations of individuals—and the dissent offers no evidence about the original meaning of the text to support any such exclusion. We are therefore simply left with the question whether the speech at issue in this case is “speech” covered by the First Amendment. No one says otherwise. A documentary film critical of a potential Presidential candidate is core political speech, and its nature as such does not change simply because it was funded by a corporation. Nor does the character of that funding produce any reduction whatever in the “inherent worth of the speech” and “its capacity for informing the public,” First Nat. Bank of Boston v. Bellotti, 435 U. S. 765, 777 (1978). Indeed, to exclude or impede corporate speech is to muzzle the principal agents of the modern free economy. We should celebrate rather than condemn the addition of this speech to the public debate.

So, let’s be clear. Corporations are (still) not allowed to donate directly to a candidate. Groups of people, like the ACLU, cannot have their voices silenced by the government. Corporations are NOT people, otherwise they would be able to vote (which they can’t) and would free to donate to a candidate (which they can’t) so your use of the term ‘corporate personhood’ is flawed.

Seems about right to me.

If you want to remove the influence of money in politics, you will have to remove the power of government to have any money. And I would be all for that. Otherwise you will have to change the nature of humans. Which is what you are now trying to do, with the use of force.

You could eliminate the corporate structure completely if you want, as has already been shown, you would accomplish nothing, other than give people more freedom to do things that you don’t like, so your solution would accomplish nothing at all.

But you are free to scream and shake your fist to the heavens all you want, our government still allows you that free speech (for now).

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 20, 2011 9:17 PM
Comment #332244
in fact the vast majority of the 6 million or so corporations registered in the United States are small businesses or nonprofits.

What do you have against these millions of people? Do you think that non profits and small businesses are ‘rich’ somehow?

Do you envy them their hard work to try to make their lives better some reason?

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 20, 2011 9:25 PM
Comment #332245
What do you have against these millions of people? Do you think that non profits and small businesses are ‘rich’ somehow?

Do you envy them their hard work to try to make their lives better some reason?
Posted by: Rhinehold at November 20, 2011 9:25 PM

I think the response to this is well … you said it best here Rhinehold “you want to rail at the heavens with emotive rhetoric.”

The fact is these millions of people don’t do what the issue is about. It is about the corporations that influence our elected officials by using money as a means of free speech. It is what used to be called bribery.

When groups of people want to protest they are put in a free speech zone a good distance from where they want to protest. This is, I guess, constitutionally legal. What is the difference between these people and the corporations or associations of people of the citizens united decision.

Posted by: j2t2 at November 20, 2011 10:02 PM
Comment #332246
What is the difference between these people and the corporations or associations of people of the citizens united decision.

Nothing, which is why corporations such as the ACLU, NAACP, Sierra Club, NRA, etc are not allowed to donate directly to candidates. However, they can still speak their views, just as the people put in ‘free speech zones’.

If you want to eliminate something, eliminate the PACs that allow for corporations to funnel money to candidates, I would be all for that. But that is not what Citizens United was about NOR is it the same thing as eliminating their free speech NOR is it what people like OWS and Roy are talking about.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 20, 2011 10:12 PM
Comment #332247
One example would be to send ALL donations through an accounting entity where ALL donations are bundled together and shipped to another entity. Thereby, cutting any audit trail. This second entity would be reponsible for disbursing funds to parties/candidates based on some set of rules/law.

We already have that, they are called PACs. How is that working out for you?

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 20, 2011 10:14 PM
Comment #332248

Rhinehold, ‘great green gobs of grimy greasy gopher guts’! I, and Jack Abramof are not out to banish corporations. Corporations are great, a driving force of the economy, innovative, etc. It’s great that they can advertise and express their political views.

The biggie is that (1) corporate personhood was fraudulently put into law to begin with. Please do acknowledge that corporations existed before 1866. and, (2) corporations should not be allowed to influence politicians/gov’t with cash.

Admendments to the Constitution have been nixed several times. Abolishing corporate personhood law should be no greater chore. If a law is passed and, over time, found not to work too well then it may be, often is, repealed.

Let’s note that the Founder’s threw in the Bill of Rights to balance things out, proper IMO. Then, with CP, the vocal minority quickly took control over the silent majority, recreating the problem the Founder’s feared at the beginning. Must be hundreds of quotes by the famous re big banks, corporate power, etc. Jefferson, “we must crush in its infancy - - - something like that, etc.

Rhinehold, help me to understand that running all donations through one account, bundling and disbursing to candidates/incumbents is living in a dream world. If that was the legal way of donating how could the system be usurped. Can ‘fair and balanced’ exist outside a dream world? No restrictions on how much people could donate, just goes into one account, bundled, and fairly disbursed.

A good exchange, IMO. I can use this thread to assimilate nuggets to include in an opine for the local paper. From there I hope we can get a resolution to abolish before the country board along the lines suggested by Move To Amend and Reclaim Democracy.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at November 20, 2011 10:25 PM
Comment #332249
(2) corporations should not be allowed to influence politicians/gov’t with cash.

They are not able to donate to a candidate (except through a PAC, which I think should be gotten rid of).

If that is what you are talking about, great let’s go end crony-capitalism.

However, you keep speaking out against Citizens United, which didn’t change that, it only re-affirmed that associations of individuals still have free speech.

Must be hundreds of quotes by the famous re big banks, corporate power, etc. Jefferson, “we must crush in its infancy - - - something like that, etc.

Again, you are arguing different things. More important to the founders was that no speech was squashed for any reason. They are VERY clear on this.

No restrictions on how much people could donate, just goes into one account, bundled, and fairly disbursed.

If you are talking about not donating directly to a candidate to help them as an individual (which is sounds like you are talking about) then it would end much, as I would not think about giving money that I think would go to help a candidate I disagreed with from getting money. I work too hard for my money for it to go somewhere I am not able to choose to spend it.

And how would it be divied up? Currently Gary Johnson is not doing too well in the polls, should he be given the same amount as McCain and Newt? Do you find this fair?

Who gets to define ‘fair’? The politicians who have been elected already? Do you think they won’t be influenced for that additional power you are talking about giving them?

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 20, 2011 10:44 PM
Comment #332250

Oh, and how does that have ANYTHING to do with ‘corporations’ who are already not allowed to donate directly to candidates at all?

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 20, 2011 10:44 PM
Comment #332251

BTW, as a libertarian, you should know I have no love of corporations in general, we call for the end of all subsidies for all corporations (and other businesses). We also want to end corporate taxation as it just gets passed on to the consumer as a hidden tax that they can’t see and aren’t aware of, especially the poor.

Let them stand on their own, we should not be picking winners or losers in the free market.

But I am guessing that most OWS protesters would find this ‘wrong’…

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 20, 2011 10:54 PM
Comment #332252

Rhinehold, let me say this about that. Agree, corporations should pay no taxes and draw no subsidies. But, I wouldn’t agree to that until the money influence is removed from politics/gov’t and that won’t happen until corporate personhood law is abolished.

CP is the reason we will never achieve any REAL reform re campaign finance. Got to abolish CP one way or another before we can expect to get to clean and fair elections.

Should all candidates/incumbents standing for reelection receive equal funding from one large combined/comingled/bundled account? Yes, what could be more fair? Each candidate has the same and equal opportunity to present their viewpoints. The funds would be divied up by some Mother Theresa organization, Boy Scouts, etc. There are great numbers of folks who would be good candidates for office but lack the base/funding to go forward. The Ex-GAO, David Walker comes to mind. However, as it is, the first thing a potential candidate has to do is check in with the corporates to see if they will fund the candidate thru the election process. And, we, or all of us beyond the second grade are supposed to pretend like there is no quid pro quo. And, it never ends. I believe I am close to correct in stating that a pol spends 50% of their time dialing for dollars and they ain’t calling folks below the corporate level.

Abramoff says he received millions enabling corporations to make billions. I continue to hope some revealing info comes out on how much Phil Gramm received from Enron and/or that group of corporates. CNBC doc this evening as to how Barcalay’s, Lloyd’s and Credit Suisse were fined a $B for financing Iran’s nuclear program. Also, the fed is looking for a Chinese fellow who set up 8 dummy corps to xfer nuke materials to 4 dummy corps set up by Iran. Digressing . . .

Donations thru one account, bundling, disbursing has everthing to do with CP. Pol’s know where the money is coming from but one account/bundling/disbursing serves as a blind as to the source.

Technically, legally Citizens United may not be associated with CP. But, in the legal sense it sets the stage for globalised funding for elections, IMO. This coming election will be the first big test for Citizens United money. US corps are pretty much maxed out in giving meaning they don’t need to give any more but the foreign til needs some ‘corporate democracy’ too.

Otherwise - - -

Posted by: Roy Ellis at November 21, 2011 12:02 AM
Comment #332255

If a law is passed based on fraudulent and/or improper proceedings then that law and any law building on that law should be repealed, removed from the books, IMO.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at November 21, 2011 9:48 AM
Comment #332257

The essential logic of this mistake is “If I give this power to this person (or group of people) more power and do not hinder them by making some sort of responsibility the condition of having that power, then they’ll do right by the rest of us because we might take our market or vote, and go home.”

People are always saying something like that. The key is to operate from a point of view of your own interests, because that’s want many folks on Wall Street and in corporate America do. Don’t vote to make somebody else rich, then wonder why you’re suddenly poorer, weaker.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 21, 2011 1:38 PM
Comment #332266

Stephen, assume the ‘mistake’ to which you refer is corporate personhood law. If thats the case, I agree, and its true in almost in circumstance.

Before 1866 there was good accountability measures in place to deal with corporations. Following corporate personhood law corporations have worked to throw off accountability to the extent possible and we have had years to observe their actions with decreased accountability/regulation. Solyndra, MFglobal, Phil Gramm/ENRON, Jack Abramoff, et al.

Much the same with politicians. Pre-election politicians will promise to ‘clean up washington’, etc and post election they immediately become part of the problem - Solyndra, putting taxpayer money ahead of private money in bankruptcy, etc. The Republic Sentry Party puts accountability in the equation up front by having the party membership serve as oversight for elected incumbents of their party. If a pol screws up membership can vote to reject the pol from the party.

Example: it is legal for congress persons to conduct insider trading but a congresssperson of the Republic Sentry Party might find themselves rejected from their party for such actions.

Otherwise - - -

Posted by: Roy Ellis at November 21, 2011 5:33 PM
Comment #332269

Yeah, unfortunately, there are too many bad apples in the OWS protests, and a lack of organization.

While they had some valid complaints, they were overshadowed by some whacky and misdirected complaints.

So, the OWS may have blown it, and the blown the opportunity to address these 10 major abuses.

At any rate, the majority of voters have the government that they elect, and re-elect, … , and re-elect, at least, possibly, until repeatedly rewarding failure, repeatedly rewarding the dysfuncational duopoly, and repeatedly rewarding FOR-SALE, incompetent, arrogant, and corrupt incumbent politicians in Congress with perpetual re-election finally becomes too painful.

Posted by: d.a.n at November 21, 2011 7:40 PM
Comment #332278

d.a.n. I would agree that OWS won’t become a revolutionary movement. I do believe some of their issues such as inequality and injustice will live on to stir the ever hotter cauldron of public discontent.

One example why their effort will be stymied: today there was media coverage of a young man leading a small group in paying homage to one of the recent ‘home grown’ terrorists.

I do wish OWS could focus up and come together on an agenda to abolish corporate personhood. This has to be achieved before any REAL reform of the system can be accomplished.

Incumbents are buried in, using corporate dollars, gerry-mandering, passing the buck as in the deficit panel, maintaing the status quo, and doing whatever is necessary to enjoy lifetime tenure. Corporations paid dear to get these folks in place and they won’t give in without a dog fight.

Otherwise, we have the corpocracy we deserve.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at November 21, 2011 11:09 PM
Comment #332281

Interesting isn’t it, that the defenders of OWS are complaining about the people involved in the movement. I also see complaints that they were not organized, which I don’t understand, considering every left wing socialist group in America has pumped millions of dollars and set up the organization. From the unions to George Soros, Socialist and Communist groups. The Tea Party was a truely grass roots organization and yet the left made fun of them and Pelosi even called them astro turf. What did you think was going to become of the OWS movement? It was doomed from the begining. Even with the help of the socialist MSM, it did not have a chance. The Tea Party was made up of hard working Americans, whose only demand was to stop the spending. The OWS is made up of the homeless, useless, dregs of society. What is their message? Give me more free stuff. And the sad thing is that Obama has identified himself with this crowd. He can’t even pick friends and supporters. How many of the slugs do you suppose will even register and vote for him? ZERO….

Posted by: Frank at November 21, 2011 11:51 PM
Comment #332302


Roy, these protesters are, for the most part very young. I imagine most of them have never heard of corporate personhood.

While there is an overall theme showing concern for the growing inequity in wealth, for the most part, they are protesting things that affect them, like college tuition costs and student loans. Example, the protest at U.C. Davis was in response to a planned huge increase in tuition costs at California State Universities.

Of course, the fascists are up in arms, calling these kids everything in the book.

Did you see those polls that showed that Fox News viewers are less informed on the major issues than people who don’t watch any news at all.

Posted by: jlw at November 22, 2011 2:01 PM
Comment #332307
The Tea Party was a truely grass roots organization and yet the left made fun of them and Pelosi even called them astro turf.

Good one Frank, Next you will tell us the Tea Party supported Obama.


The OWS is made up of the homeless, useless, dregs of society. What is their message? Give me more free stuff. And the sad thing is that Obama has identified himself with this crowd. He can’t even pick friends and supporters. How many of the slugs do you suppose will even register and vote for him? ZERO….

So much hatred so many misconceptions Frank. The OWS people you have such a negative misconception may take exception to your hateful blathering.

http://www.fastcompany.com/1792056/occupy-wall-street-demographics-infographic

Posted by: j2t2 at November 22, 2011 4:58 PM
Comment #332310

j2t2, “The OWS people you have such a negative misconception may take exception to your hateful blathering.”

Bring it on…..

Let me go further; they are anarchist who’s sole purpose is to create revolution. Unwashed, uncircumcised, Philistines.

Posted by: Frank at November 22, 2011 5:36 PM
Comment #332311

Not one to let facts get in the way eh Frank.

Posted by: j2t2 at November 22, 2011 5:49 PM
Comment #332348


For some, facts that do not conform to beliefs are not facts at all.

On the day that Obama was elected, Fox News surged into the number 1 spot in cable news.

Posted by: jlw at November 23, 2011 3:23 PM
Comment #332350

“On the day that Obama was elected, Fox News surged into the number 1 spot in cable news.”

Posted by: jlw at November 23, 2011 3:23 PM

And why would that be, jlw?

Posted by: Mike at November 23, 2011 5:41 PM
Comment #332379


A pity party?

Posted by: jlw at November 24, 2011 4:25 PM
Comment #332399

Good link dbs…

Posted by: Mike at November 25, 2011 5:08 PM
Comment #332411

Among my faves are “KEEP YOUR GOVERMENT HANDS OFF MY MRDICAID” What a bunch of dolts!

Posted by: Jeff at November 26, 2011 12:16 AM
Comment #332537
Roy Ellis wrote: I do wish OWS could focus up and come together on an agenda to abolish corporate personhood. This has to be achieved before any REAL reform of the system can be accomplished.
Yeah, me too, which is among these 10 major abuses.

However, How can corpocracy be reduced, or eliminated?

First of all, what is at the root of corpocracy?

Corpocracy is rooted in one main problem, which may be the most serious problem facing the nation:

When government is FOR-SALE, it is rotten to the core.
To end corpocracy (i.e. government FOR-SALE) requires:

  • campaign finance reform; for example, split up all campaign donations equally amongst the top 10 candidates (based on preliminary votes and/or verifiable signatures); therefore, limits on
    campaign donations, and tracking donations may no longer be necessary;
  • make it illegal for politicians in Congress to receive campaign donations in any other form, because government was never supposed to be FOR-SALE;
  • give the top 10 candidates equal access to main-stream-media via several scheduled debates;
  • term-limits;

However, there is still another major problem standing in the way of any common-sense, no-brainer solutions:

  • The federal government will not reform itself, unless there are severe consequences for not embracing those reforms !
  • The federal government is where common-sense solutions and good ideas go to die.
  • Too many voters love THEIR party more than thier country, as evidenced by their voting habits (i.e. 40% do not bother to vote at all; most voters do not know their representatives and senators; too many voters blindly pull the party-lever; too many voters are too ignorant of the major problems facing the nation; too many voters are fail to understand that a very tiny 0.3% of all 200 million eligible voters make a whopping 83% of all federal campaign donations of $200 or more; etc., etc., etc. (enough to fill volumes);

  • QUESTION: Therefore, what is the solution?
  • ANSWER: Well, it most certainly should NOT be top repeatedly reward arrogant, FOR-SALE, incompetent, and corrupt incubment politicians with perpetual re-election. Education is the first key step to improvement, to hopefully lead to a wiser majority of voters, who will vote wiser, and bring about government that is more responsible.
    • Responsibility = Power + Virtue + Education + Transparency + Accountability
    • Corruption = Power - Virtue - Education - Transparency - Accountability
    • CONCLUSION: The majority of voters have the government that they elect, and re-elect, … , and re-elect, at least, possibly, until repeatedly rewarding failure, and repeatedly rewarding FOR-SALE, incompetent, arrogant, greedy, and corrupt incumbent politicians in Congress with perpetual re-election rates finally becomes too painful. As long as the voters still have the right to vote, and the ability to obtain an accurate vote-count, the majority of voters have a government of, for, and by the people, and therefore have only themselves to thank for it.
Posted by: d.a.n at November 29, 2011 9:34 PM
Comment #362870

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Comment #363976

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