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View Diary: Vermont state legislature votes to End Corporate Personhood (70 comments)

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  •  the rights corporations should have... (18+ / 0-)

    ... should be limited to:

    = The right to exist once they have been created.  

    = The right to buy, own, and sell property in their own names.  This is an axiomatic necessity of doing any kind of business.

    = The right to sue and be sued in their own names.  This follows from the above two points.

    = The right to commercial speech, which specifically refers to marketing and advertising of their products and services, subject to appropriate regulations of truthfulness, labeling, and so on to prevent fraud.

    If the individual natural persons who are the executives of a corporation wish to lobby Congress or otherwise engage in political speech, they have the same rights to do so as anyone else.  In all probability, they will gain whatever reasonable and legitimate access they need, by virtue of their expertise and their responsibility for production, employment, and so on.  

    But the gap between the effectiveness of speech by executives, and the speech of other natural persons, is hardly so large as what occurs when corporations can hire literally hundreds of lobbyists each, to swamp Congress and the Executive branch.  

    As for freedom of religion, that also pertains to individual natural persons only.  A corporation can't claim to have "beliefs" in the same manner as an individual, for example a belief that it has a soul, so it has no claim upon the rights that follow from those beliefs.  And from that it necessarily follows that a corporation can't impose religious restrictions on the beliefs or behaviors of its employees or shareholders, or the benefits that those employees and shareholders receive.

    "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

    by G2geek on Thu Apr 19, 2012 at 07:01:36 PM PDT

    •  I think one of the major "limits" (20+ / 0-)


      is the ability of the state to "dissolve corporate charters"

      as a penalty for malfeasance.


      Afterall the state grants those charters in the first place,

      they should be able to take them away too.


      What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself.
      -- Maslow ...... my list.

      by jamess on Thu Apr 19, 2012 at 07:06:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  what about religious corporations (2+ / 0-)
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      VClib, Loge

      like churches and mosques?  don't they have free exercise rights?

        •  so we can pass a law saying that (0+ / 0-)

          funds held by a mosque can't be used to purchase korans?

          •  Could you specifically explain how this could (2+ / 0-)
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            radical simplicity, jayden

            follow?  I remember you saying this in a previous discussion--it was churches & Bibles then--& you say this like it's obvious, when it clearly isn't.

            Why assume any new Amendment would automatically contradict/conflict with the religious freedom portion of the First?

            Before elections have their consequences, Activism has consequences for elections.

            by Leftcandid on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 07:08:34 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  If a church doesn't have a right to religious (0+ / 0-)

              practice, then it wouldn't be able to object to a law prohibiting religious corporations from purchasing religious materials.

              Simple enough.

              The only counterargument goes as follows: "a law prohibiting those purchases is a violation of the individual congregant's rights, since that congregant exercises her rights through the conduit of the religious corporation."  And, of course, that's exactly what the supporters of the Citizens United decision say: by banning speech by corps, you ban the speech of the individuals that speak through the corp.

      •  those are corporations formed for the specific... (4+ / 0-)

        .... purpose of operating one or more churches, that could legitimately claim that the propagation of a specific religious viewpoint is their central purpose.

        But this brings up a wider issue, which is whether corporations should be allowed to claim that they exist "for any and all lawful purposes," as distinct for "from specific, limited, enumerated purposes."  

        Clearly the "every legal purpose" thing produces corporate immortality and enables all manner of slippery goings-on.  Including that any ordinary company could claim to have a religious purpose and thereby start engaging in religious discrimination in one form or another.  

        So clearly we have to roll back the "any legal purpose" thing and make them choose:   If they are engaged in a religious purpose, regardless of tax exemption, they can't use that as cover for operating commercial ventures far larger in scope.  And if they are engaged in a commercial purpose, they can't claim a religious purpose as a means of enacting discriminatory provisions in their commercial operations.  

        By "discrimination" I also include "health coverage" that is aligned with religious dogma to the point where it effectively discourages employment by people not of the same faith.  

        "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

        by G2geek on Thu Apr 19, 2012 at 09:03:26 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  As I understand... (3+ / 0-)

          501Cs can form and own separate, for-profit corporations to conduct profitable enterprises. As owner of that for-profit, the not-for-profit 501C (probably including nonprofit, such as church), can receive distributions as shareholder. Those shareholder distributions would be taxable income.

          Examples: realtor associations 501C(6) that own a for-profit corporation to run the multiple listing service. Churches might own a for-profit corporation to sell books and such. That's how they legally conform with IRS regulations.

          The IRS does audit nonprofits and not-for-profits for compliance with the corporation's stated purpose. If the bulk of the not-for-profit's efforts and staff time are spent on unrelated activity, the corporation would lose its not-for-profit tax status. Ergo, ownership of a for-profit commercial enterprise.

          Heh. I probably made that clear as mud.

          The sh*t those people [republicans] say just makes me weep for humanity! - Woody Harrelson

          by SoCalSal on Thu Apr 19, 2012 at 10:11:20 PM PDT

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          •  yes, and.... (3+ / 0-)

            ... in that case the business corporation that is attached to a nonprofit religious corporation, should not be subject to the doctrinal impositions of the religious corporation.

            The critical issue today is freedom of choice in health care.  But should incorporated business entities gain "freedom of religion" to impose religious doctrines upon their employees via their health insurance, that power will expand until our economic landscape looks like some kind of Balkanized tribalized medieval condition.  

            "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

            by G2geek on Thu Apr 19, 2012 at 11:54:14 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

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