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Cross posted at our new beta site Voices on the Square and The Stars Hollow Gazette
I don't know what to do. This is pretty daunting and I think half of the Democratic electorate still thinks that most of the dissenting 4 Liberal SCOTUS Justices voted against Citizen's United because they reject corporate person-hood. They didn't yet somehow we're all pretending they did using it as a rallying cry in this election. I have to wonder why.

After all, Corporate person-hood is the basis as to why our so called Representative Democracy is bought and a sham, really. It started with how the 14th amendment to free African American slaves passed after the Civil War was used for this pernicious purpose as documented in The Corporation.

Our fake Representative democracy has been bought for quite some time even before Citizen's United made things worse. In Glenn Greenwald's piece about the Chick Fil-A controversy he gave us an important reminder too often overlooked in this campaign and overall talk of swinging the Roberts Court back.

Free speech and donations

Leave aside the fact that all 9 justices of the Supreme Court — from the most liberal to the most conservative — believe, and in Citizens United said, that corporations have free speech rights under the First Amendment, and that restrictions on how they spend their money for political advocacy can violate the First Amendment’s free speech clause.

It's worth noting to whoever chagrin's or surprise that I disagree with Glenn Greenwald(it's not often that I do) completely in his sympathetic view of 1st amendment rights for corporations. I will expand on why later, but I have to point out right now that he's not talking directly to me here even though I take the position he doesn't agree with. Why?

As I have documented, Democrats are largely responsible for creating the Roberts Court in the first place so you won't see me out there pretending Democrats are going to do what's right by the Supreme Court as a campaign issue. It's not a given that any of the swing retirements are going to happen, and our country can't wait much longer nor can the planet.

I agree with Greenwald's point that it's disingenuous to think the Liberal Justices are going to overturn corporate person-hood, specifically anti-Miranda and pro cutting Medicaid Kagan. So Glenn makes a good point despite my disagreement; indeed, let's stop pretending that is the case that the "liberal" 4 oppose corporate personhood.

Follow-up on the Citizens United case

More important, I want to note one extremely bizarre aspect to the discussion yesterday.  Most commenters (though not all) grounded their opposition to the Supreme Court’s ruling in two rather absolute principles:  (1) corporations are not ”persons” and thus have no First Amendment/free speech rights and/or (2) money is not speech, and therefore restrictions on how money is spent cannot violate the First Amendment’s free speech clause.  What makes those arguments so bizarre is that none of the 9 Justices — including the 4 dissenting Justices — argued either of those propositions or believe them.   To the contrary, all 9 Justices — including the 4 in dissent — agreed that corporations do have First Amendment rights and that restricting how money can be spent in pursuit of political advocacy does trigger First Amendment protections.  Here’s what Justice Stevens himself said in his dissent (p. 54-55):

Let’s repeat that.  As Justice Stevens says:  “of course . . . speech does not fall entirely outside the protection of the First Amendment merely because it comes from a corporation,” and ”no one suggests the contrary.”  The fact that all nine Justices reject a certain proposition does not, of course, prove that it’s wrong.  But those who argue that (1) corporations have no First Amendment rights and/or (2) restrictions on money cannot violate the free speech clause should stop pretending that the 4 dissenting Justices agreed with you.  They didn’t.  None of the 9 Justices made those arguments.

Sadly Greenwald is right about that, but let's get to why he is wrong on the issue. Citizen's United is not the case we need to concern ourselves with, because if a more pernicious case is examined and by some miracle overturned as we look back, Citizen's United has no basis anyway.

Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad

Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Company, 118 U.S. 394 (1886) was a matter brought before the United States Supreme Court - but not decided by the court - which dealt with taxation of railroad properties. A report issued by the Court Reporter claimed to state the sense of the Court - without a decision or written opinions published by or of the Court. This was the first time that the Supreme Court was reported to hold that the Fourteenth Amendment equal protection clause granted constitutional protections to corporations as well as to natural persons
You read that right. Here's Lawyer and CNN's legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin to expand on that point when he was on the Colbert Report during the Citizen's United preceding.

Yes, a court reporter off hand mentioned corporate person-hood and equal protection under the 14th amendment for corporations(which doesn't really still exist for African Americans in part because it exists for private prisons) and it became written as legal precedent ever since even though it didn't exist! The court reporter doesn't have that authority! That's not what I call Jurisprudence.

That is what I call a joke; something a Kangaroo Court would let happen. That's not something the highest court in the United States should have done and recorded as precedent perverting our entire system altogether. This omission from Greenwald and Turley among other legal minds I normally agree with is extremely disappointing on this issue. This decision needs to be overturned like Plessy vs Ferguson was.

Perhaps what's most disturbing is how our Judicial system as a whole only selectively puts historical context into effect whenever upholding the 1st amendment. Greenwald and others argue that the 1st amendment only talks about the freedom of speech and not which entity it belongs to. Well technically it doesn't explicitly talk about a wall between church and state either. However it's been upheld and rightfully so, because of the context from Thomas Jefferson's and James Madison's letters and writings about the matter.

So why not look at more drastically important historical context when it comes to the 1st amendment only belonging to real people who can live, cry, and die as Elizabeth Warren articulates? Thomas Hartman has done some of the best research on this issue so I'm going to end with this long piece he wrote on the same kind of context behind the 1st amendment's real intent even if it's not specifically spelled out in text form in the Bill of Rights.

To Restore Democracy: First Abolish Corporate Personhood

Thus, Paine and others of the Revolutionary Era reasoned, any institution made up by and of humans - from governments to churches to corporations - must be subordinate to individual living people in terms of the rights and powers held by the institution.

Because of the unique frailties and depths of passion unique to humans, just after the United States Constitution was ratified Thomas Jefferson and James Madison began a campaign to amend it with a 12-point explicit statement that would clearly and unambiguously place humans - who had created government - above their creation. This was the birth of what would become the Bill of Rights, and it originally had twelve - not ten - protections for citizens’ rights.

On December 20th, 1787, Jefferson wrote to James Madison about his concerns regarding the Constitution. He said, bluntly, that it was deficient in several areas. “I will now tell you what I do not like,” he wrote. “First, the omission of a bill of rights, providing clearly, and without the aid of sophism, for freedom of religion, freedom of the press, protection against standing armies, restriction of monopolies, the eternal and unremitting force of the habeas corpus laws, and trials by jury in all matters of fact triable by the laws of the land, and not by the laws of nations.”

Such a bill protecting natural persons from out-of-control governments or commercial monopolies shouldn’t just be limited to America, Jefferson believed. “Let me add,” he summarized, “that a bill of rights is what the people are entitled to against every government on earth, general or particular; and what no just government should refuse, or rest on inference.”

[..............]

By mid-summer of 1788, things were moving along and Jefferson was helping his close friend James Madison to write the Bill of Rights. On the last day of July, he wrote to Madison: “I sincerely rejoice at the acceptance of our new constitution by nine States. It is a good canvass, on which some strokes only want retouching. What these are, I think are sufficiently manifested by the general voice from north to south, which calls for a bill of rights. It seems pretty generally understood, that this should go to juries, habeas corpus, standing armies, printing, religion, and monopolies.

But on the issues of banning a standing army and blocking corporations from gaining monopolistic control over industries, Jefferson was getting resistance. The nation had just fought a bloody war against England, and there was little sentiment for completely dismantling the army. And the Federalists who were in power - a party largely made up of what Jefferson called “the rich and the well born” - were opposed to government constraints on business activities.

Thus only ten of his twelve visions for a Bill of Rights - all except “freedom from monopolies in commerce” and his concern about a permanent army - were incorporated into the actual Bill of Rights.

[........]

During this same period, because everybody understood Paine and Jefferson’s argument that human-made institutions must be subordinate to humans themselves; virtually every state had laws on the books that regulated the behavior of corporations.

The corporate form is, after all, just a legal structure to facilitate the conversion of products or services into cash for stockholders. As Buckminster Fuller wrote in his brilliant essay The Grunch of Giants, “Corporations are neither physical nor metaphysical phenomena. They are socioeconomic ploys-legally enacted game-playing-agreed upon only between overwhelmingly powerful socioeconomic individuals and by them imposed upon human society and its all unwitting members.”

Thus, states made it illegal for corporations to participate in the political process: politicians were doing the voters’ business, and corporations couldn’t vote, so it didn’t make sense they should be allowed to try to influence votes. States made it illegal for corporations to lie about their products, and required that their books and processes always be open and available to government regulators. States and the Federal government claimed the right to inspect companies and investigate them when they caused pollution, harmed workers, or created hazards for human communities, even if in the early years that right was unevenly used.

There it is. All states had laws on the books regulating corporations from this so called money "speech" some people think they were entitled to by the 1st amendment. Wrong. Corporations are chartered by states and by the state ever since the East India Company was chartered by Queen Elizabeth I.

As far as Greenwald's hypothetical questions go, they don't scare me. As much as I respect the work of the ACLU, they couldn't spend enough money as "speech" to stop the NDAA or shut down Guantanamo or Bagram air base. Unions(not the same as for profit corporations and they are more democratic) can't compete and never will be able to compete in the money game by Wall St barons and the Chamber of Commerce.

Only legal protection can protect the dwindling labor movement; the ability to spend more money as speech has done and will do nothing for the dwindling hanging by a thread union movement in this country. Laws need to protect them and laws killing them need to be overturned. Joining a union needs to be a civil right. The NLRB can't really protect workers. Taft Hartley and right to work laws need to be overturned. We need rights, not fear mongering over speech equaling money, because most of us barely have any money and don't have a future because the billionare's purchase of this nation is now codified.

I'm not saying the SCOTUS is a non issue in general, but like our economic problems, unless you're willing to identify the problem and have the right debate, you're not helping the real issue at all. There was a time when the New Deal was constantly struck down by the SCOTUS, until FDR, despite losing, threatened to pack the court. Though that threat failed it did eventually change the trajectory of the court as the Four Horsemen lost their grip on it when Justice Owen Roberts's switch in time that saved nine happened, and much of the New Deal was then able to become law putting an end to the Lochner era.

So you want to use the SCOTUS as a campaign issue? Advocate for finding real Liberal SCOTUS Justices who actually know the Santa Clara County vs. Southern Pacific Railroad was a sham that is costing lives, livelihoods, and our whole Republic. Advocate for politicians that are aware of this law and the history behind it in the Executive and Legislative branch, even if they don't exist yet. Don't believe anyone is going to even begin to solve this problem unless they're really talk about it.

Identify this problem and think critically while alerting the masses.  What's left of our republic depends on it, specifically the real non corporate persons living and suffering in it.

Originally posted to The Amateur Left on Thu Aug 09, 2012 at 07:44 AM PDT.

Also republished by The Rebel Alliance.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (36+ / 0-)

    ‎A) "Bipartisan usually means that a larger-than-usual deception is being carried out." - George Carlin B) "The administration should be worried about the level of despair here." ~Markos Moulitsas at NN12

    by priceman on Thu Aug 09, 2012 at 07:44:49 AM PDT

  •  There Won't Be Liberal Justices Until There Is A (14+ / 0-)

    liberal major political party. Nobody has any idea how to achieve that --but while keeping this in mind, first comes election day, then we can talk about a new approach to the Democratic Party on Nov. 7th.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Thu Aug 09, 2012 at 07:48:48 AM PDT

  •  Abortion. Nt (3+ / 0-)

    "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

    by Empty Vessel on Thu Aug 09, 2012 at 08:09:05 AM PDT

  •  Well, that's it. (9+ / 0-)

    I'm going to have to win that damn Powerball Lottery and buy me a couple of Supremes. That's how it's done now, right?

    I shave my legs with Occam's razor~

    by triv33 on Thu Aug 09, 2012 at 08:09:41 AM PDT

  •  Corporations are made up of people (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marina, priceman, FG

    and people have a right to speak.  That's pretty basic.
    However, corporations are artificial bodies whose construction and composition is authorized by superior artificial bodies -- i.e. public corporations known as nation and states.  Public corporations act according to the powers outlined in their charters or Constitutions, which can be amended from time to time by a vote of the supervising entity -- i.e. the citizenry.  The charters of private corporations, being subordinate to nation or state, are presumably approved as to their content and conditions of operation by the legislative bodies of the nation and/or several states.  If those legislative bodies want to impose certain restrictions as to the operation of the private corporation, including how any money they collect is used, then they can do that. That they haven't chosen to restrict corporate speech on political issues accounts for why the SCOTUS had to find corporations have that right, just as they have a right to dispose of waste in the environment like every other person, unless there's evidence that the waste is toxic or injurious to someone.

    Now, we could fashion all kinds of restrictions on artificial bodies and even decide ahead of time that violations will be punished with dissolution.  But, we haven't done that.  If we want legislators to do that, we have to elect some that agree. If there is a lesson we should take away from the Michigan dissolution of cities and the appointment of financial managers as dictators, it's that legislatures have the ability and the power to amend or dissolve what they create. Most people are not aware that municipal corporations are created by states and can be dissolved at will.  The people who organized gated communities as home-owner associations knew that; it's why they did what they did to get out from under the equal treatment provisions applied to governmental subdivisions.  Privatization is largely fueled by a desire to evade equality.

    Willard's forte = "catch 'n' cage". He's not into "catch and release."

    by hannah on Thu Aug 09, 2012 at 08:25:51 AM PDT

    •  I agree on most of what you said (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      aliasalias
      That they haven't chosen to restrict corporate speech on political issues accounts for why the SCOTUS had to find corporations have that right, just as they have a right to dispose of waste in the environment like every other person, unless there's evidence that the waste is toxic or injurious to someone.
      Except for this. There were those restrictions before and it wasn't a real decision to give perosnhood in Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad.

      Also Buckley vs Valeo was a decisions overturning some of those decisions by the legislature.

      ‎A) "Bipartisan usually means that a larger-than-usual deception is being carried out." - George Carlin B) "The administration should be worried about the level of despair here." ~Markos Moulitsas at NN12

      by priceman on Thu Aug 09, 2012 at 08:36:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think my point is that we need to (0+ / 0-)

        look to the legislative bodies.  Legislators have been doing a bang-up job pretending they have no say on anything.  It's always either the President or the Governor or the Supreme Court that's at fault for things not going as they should.  But, in fact, our representatives are to blame for laws that deprive individuals of rights and cater to corporations.  Legislators are to blame for trying to manage people, instead of the resources we need to survive and thrive.  Legislatures may be the repository of failed businessmen and scofflaws, but it's the voters' responsibility to change that.  If we let the Chamber of Commerce flood each election with handfuls of incompetents, then it's our fault for letting them get away with that.  And it's the fault of the Democratic party for insisting that the party's choice of a single candidate is an imprimatur that can't be challenged.

        Do not blame the Tea Party for going to the grass roots.  Blame them for being snookered by the Kochs and nominating idiots.  But, since they were novices, don't be too hard.  The Tea Party idiots of 2010 weren't that much worse than what Republican trotted out in 2012. Indeed, considering how long Gingrich has been around, one could argue that his idiocy only became evident in the company of the Tea Party crowd.

        How long has Bachmann been in Congress?  And Gohmert?  And Lindsey Graham?  And Orin Hatch?

        Willard's forte = "catch 'n' cage". He's not into "catch and release."

        by hannah on Thu Aug 09, 2012 at 08:52:13 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Montana did just what you ask. They had a law (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          priceman, Nada Lemming, aliasalias

          in place for 100 years, limiting corporate political spending.

          Please remind me how that worked out.

          When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill...

          by PhilJD on Thu Aug 09, 2012 at 09:02:06 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I suspect that the rationale on which the (0+ / 0-)

            limits were based did not hold up.  That some people in the past had conspired to influence elections was not a sufficient reason to prohibit other people.
            Corporations that are set up to produce steel involving themselves in political activity could be precluded in their charters.  Of course, there's the problem that, while American industrial and commercial enterprise persists in perpetrating the illusion that they derive no benefits or services from public corporations, that's just plain false.  The reason corporations seek to influence legislators is because they want the legal support and they want access to the natural resources the public corporations are supposed to manage.
            If there were no need for corporations to lobby, they probably wouldn't.  If legislators didn't hold out favorable legislation as an incentive to their re-election, corporations wouldn't feel constrained to be supportive.
            The question is where does the coercion originate?  Legislators would have the electorate believe the fault lies with the private corporations.  But, fact is, if the electorate insists on having public servants of their own choosing, rather than petty potentates, the only entities losing influence are the latter.

            Willard's forte = "catch 'n' cage". He's not into "catch and release."

            by hannah on Thu Aug 09, 2012 at 09:13:21 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Greenwald's analysis of CU is off base (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PhilJD, priceman, ZhenRen

    and lazy in my opinion.  

    His comparisons between the ACLU and corporations falls flat because the government does restrict the way the ACLU, and other non-profits, including churches, can spend their money. Those non-profits can't endorse candidates, only issues. Indeed CU taken to its logical extreme should allow churches, Super PACS and civil rights organizations to endorse candidates.  

    Greenwald in essence agrees with Michelle Bachmann - the government is unconstitutionally stifling the free speech rights of churches.  Greenwald, I'm guessing, should have no problem with that viewpoint.  But as Stevens makes very clear in his dissent, there has been a steady stream of precedent that distinguishes corporate/organizational speech from personal speech since the early 20th century. And yes, the government does have a compelling reason to do so.  

    Greenwald's analysis simply ignores the realities under which corporate personhood was adopted and applied over the first 80 years it was the law in our country, while simultaneously ignorning the effects of CU on our democracy.  

    When first adopted, "Personhood" simply meant a legal entity separate from its stockholders with its own profits and liabilities.  It didn't mean a new being with its own thoughts, beliefs and emotions.  Life wasn't created.  Corporations weren't granted civil rights.

    I've seen Greenwald propose the solution of publicly financed elections but I don't see how you would every get Americans to agree to finance elections to the rate needed to compete with private expenditures.  And again, having this much money floating around the political system is like inviting in the greatest threat to a democracy - corruption.  

    As you point out, states give life to corporations. Why can't Montana refuse to allow any corporation to incorporate or act within its borders who produces political speech?  And by this I mean, not stopping the speech, but refusing to give life to any corporation that acts outside of its narrowly granted "business purpose." When corporations first came to "life" states use to restrict them to act only for narrowly defined business purposes.  Why can't we go back to that system?  I think the next battle of CU is at the statehouses.  

    •  Actually, the ACLU etal set up different entities (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      VClib

      that can and do speak more freely about political matters.  The courts have held that that ability to set up subsidiaries is the only way that these limitations on speech are constitutional.

      At any rate, any movement to eliminate corporate personhood is DOA.  People generally like that newspapers have free speech (I do, for sure), they like the churches have rights to engage in religious practice, and they like that small businesses are protected from governmental seizure of corporate assets w/o due process.

      These are overwhelmingly good things, and it strikes me as odd that this particular anti-corporate coterie on the left looks right by them.

      •  Wow, you totally misconstrued what I said (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PhilJD, priceman, Nada Lemming

        Corporate personhood isn't what allows newspapers free speech - there were newspapers before corporations.  

        •  If a company weren't entitled to free speech, (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          nextstep, VClib

          then newspapers - which are corporate entities - wouldn't have first amendment protection.

          •  Newspapers (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            priceman, Cassiodorus

            Have enumerated protection in the constitution.  There is a reason for this.  it's because corporations in general do not have rights over and above humans.  Did you even read this article?  Or do you think Jefferson is anti America?  

            ‎"Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have the exact measure of the injustice and wrong which will be imposed on them." --Frederick Douglass

            by Nada Lemming on Thu Aug 09, 2012 at 11:16:13 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  No, they don't. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              VClib

              "freedom of the press" is the freedom to write, to publish.  There weren't corporate publishers when the constitution was drafted.  

              Did you even read this article?
              rofl!
              •  The New York Post was started by Alexander Hamilto (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Cassiodorus

                n.

                http://en.wikipedia.org/...

                The New York Post, established on November 16, 1801 as the New-York Evening Post, describes itself as the nation's oldest continuously published daily newspaper.(The only known original copy of the New York Evening Post 11/16/1801-owned by Dominick Speziale-Hewlett NY) The Hartford Courant, believed to be the oldest continuously published newspaper, was founded in 1764 as a semi-weekly paper; it did not begin publishing daily until 1836. The New Hampshire Gazette, which has trademarked its claim of being The Nation's Oldest Newspaper, was founded in 1756, also as a weekly. Moreover, since the 1890s it has been published only for weekends.

                The Post was founded by Alexander Hamilton with about US$10,000 from a group of investors in the autumn of 1801 as the New-York Evening Post,[4] a broadsheet. Hamilton's co-investors included other New York members of the Federalist Party, such as Robert Troup and Oliver Wolcott,[5] who were dismayed by the election of Thomas Jefferson as U.S. President and the rise in popularity of the Democratic-Republican Party.[6] The meeting at which Hamilton first recruited investors for the new paper took place in then-country weekend villa that is now Gracie Mansion.[7] Hamilton chose William Coleman as his first editor.[6]

                Murdock now owns and runs the same paper. So much for your knowledge about newspapers and freedom of the press even if the corporate structure has changed, but it's changed from the golden Keynesian age and partnerships to today where the CEO loots the company and buys Democracy or what you call "a good thing."

                There. No one take him seriously anymore.

                ‎A) "Bipartisan usually means that a larger-than-usual deception is being carried out." - George Carlin B) "The administration should be worried about the level of despair here." ~Markos Moulitsas at NN12

                by priceman on Thu Aug 09, 2012 at 12:30:00 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  You're misreading. (0+ / 0-)
                  even if the corporate structure has changed,
                  That's the point.  Freedom of the press is a right.  If you had your druthers, corporations would not have the right to the press.  Ergo, companies like the NY Times or the WaPo would not have a right to the press and could be told by Congress what op-eds to publish.

                  Here's the syllogism:
                  - If rights are restricted to natural persons, corps don't have rights.
                  - Freedom of the press is a right
                  - WaPo is a corp

                  Conclusion: the Wapo wouldn't have the right to the press if rights were restricted to natural persons.

                  Very simple syllogism.  

                  •  That's not you apologizing for not knowing this (0+ / 0-)

                    You're playing semantic games with the word corporate publishers. If you want to tie the word corporate to any incorporation of people than by definition, corporate publishers did exist back then before 1886 like the New York Post did but without 1st amendment rights because entities can't have them because they only exist by the people that make them up and allow them to exist.

                    Notice Alexander Hamilton had investors too. Rights are and were restricted to natural persons back then, but they still incorporated for a limited purpose derived from the people who partnered up having the right to a free press.

                    Absolutely wrong. The Wapo could have been run back then in the historical time the New York Post was run.

                    Nice try, though, but the historical record proves you wrong.

                    ‎A) "Bipartisan usually means that a larger-than-usual deception is being carried out." - George Carlin B) "The administration should be worried about the level of despair here." ~Markos Moulitsas at NN12

                    by priceman on Thu Aug 09, 2012 at 07:58:10 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

        •  BTW: of course there were newspapers (0+ / 0-)

          before corporations, but they weren't published by corporations; they were published by individuals.

          Now maybe you think a world where only newspapers published by individuals should be free from government censure, but, again, I suspect you would be in a very small minority.

          Or, perhaps you just don't understand what your own position means.  That's probably at least as likely.

      •  The problem with your comment is... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Nada Lemming, aliasalias, burlydee

        besides the false dichotomy is newspapers existed before 1886 and the right to a free press predates personhood. lol. So do churches and religious institutions who have had protection from the state long before corporate personhood.

        Yeah you enjoy your Murdock owned newspapers. Also the corporate assets belong to the shareholders which are people who have due process or used to. yeah if anything let's use the attacking small business with regulations argument and big government argument.

        PS the East India Company ran roughshod against the people in this country who resented their huge tax break. yeah, they were treated ever so poorly.

        After your good things went into effect one of the worst periods for small business ever happened, via the Gilded Age and the Panic of 1873 and  Panic of 1893. That you would lecture anyone not knowing about that and how corporate personhood tied into those huge monopolies ran by Robber barons that owned everything should stop anyone from listening to you.

        ‎A) "Bipartisan usually means that a larger-than-usual deception is being carried out." - George Carlin B) "The administration should be worried about the level of despair here." ~Markos Moulitsas at NN12

        by priceman on Thu Aug 09, 2012 at 10:32:15 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Churches are religious corporations (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          nextstep, VClib

          If corps didn't have first amendment protections, then the state could control and restrict their general treasury expenditures.

          Say it with me: churches are corporations.

          •  Churches are tax exempt by law (0+ / 0-)

            and don't give profit to shareholders. Their protection comes from something entirely different in the 1st amendment.

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

            ‎A) "Bipartisan usually means that a larger-than-usual deception is being carried out." - George Carlin B) "The administration should be worried about the level of despair here." ~Markos Moulitsas at NN12

            by priceman on Thu Aug 09, 2012 at 10:56:48 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  But if rights don't accrue to corporations, (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              nextstep, VClib

              then a religious corporation doesn't have a right to free exercise.  So we can pass a law mandating that religious corporations use corporate funds to buy only King James versions of the Bible.

              You're just not thinking this through very clearly.  Keep trying, though; you'll get there.

              •  The people that make it up have the rights (0+ / 0-)

                Corporations can't exercise religion or pray. People do that. Churches have collection plates collected by the priesthood. There are no venture collection plates.lol. Wow. That was hilarious. And no group of people agreeing on their religion and their practice of it in a church was ever forced to to buy only King James versions of the Bible no matter what Glen Beck tells you at bedtime.

                Yeah, I'm not thinking things clearly.lol. Your overall lack of knowledge and RW misinterpretations have been a laugh riot though and now I'm done.

                ‎A) "Bipartisan usually means that a larger-than-usual deception is being carried out." - George Carlin B) "The administration should be worried about the level of despair here." ~Markos Moulitsas at NN12

                by priceman on Thu Aug 09, 2012 at 11:51:15 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Churches are corporations, my friend. (0+ / 0-)

                  see, eg, NY statute:

                  http://law.justia.com/...

                  •  Oh look you haven't read the law (0+ / 0-)
                    2006 New York Code - Rights, Powers And Limitations.

                    §  181.  Rights,  powers  and  limitations.  Upon  the  filing of such certificate the persons named therein as trustees, and their successors, being citizens of the United States and residents of this  state,  shall be a body politic and corporate, with all the rights, powers and duties, and   subject   to  all  the  restrictions  and  obligations  and  other provisions, so far as the same may be  applicable  and  consistent  with this  article,  specified  and contained in the act entitled "An act for the incorporation of benevolent, charitable, scientific  and  missionary societies,"  passed April twelfth, eighteen hundred and forty-eight, and the act amending the same, passed April seventh,  eighteen  hundred  and forty-nine,  except that the limitation in the first of the said acts of the value of real estate that may be held by any society in the city  or county  of  New  York,  incorporated  under  this  article, shall not be applicable to any church edifice erected or owned by  such  society,  or the  lot  of  ground on which the same may be built; and except that the provision in the first of the said acts, in  relation  to  the  personal liability  of the trustees, shall be applicable only to the trustees who shall have assented to the creation of any debt.

                    That predates 1866 and churches still existed which were incorporations of people who had the right to exercise their religion which is the basis. Thank for disproving your bizarre legal theories and pretzel logic regarding the false faith based belief that any entity Incorporated had to have 1st amendment rights to operate successfully which churches didn't and are still limited by pre Santa Clara County vs Pacific Railroad statutes.

                    Also you know  a trustee is a real person, right?

                    Trustee (or the holding of a Trusteeship) is a legal term which, in its broadest sense, can refer to any person who holds property, authority, or a position of trust or responsibility for the benefit of another.[1] Although the strictest sense of the term is the holder of property on behalf of a beneficiary,[1] the more expansive sense encompasses persons who serve, for example, on the Board of Trustees for an institution that operates for the benefit of the general public. A trust can be set up either to benefit particular persons, or for any charitable purposes (but not generally for non-charitable purposes): typical examples are a will trust for the testator's children and family, a pension trust (to confer benefits on employees and their families), and a charitable trust.
                    Let's hope you will learn someday.

                    ‎A) "Bipartisan usually means that a larger-than-usual deception is being carried out." - George Carlin B) "The administration should be worried about the level of despair here." ~Markos Moulitsas at NN12

                    by priceman on Thu Aug 09, 2012 at 08:14:22 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

              •  There is no such thing as a religious corporation (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                priceman, PhilJD

                religions are organizations.  A corporation is a specific legal entity formed by operation of law.  It is granted life by the state.  It is purpose is to limit liability of shareholders.  Part of the problem is that people are confusing corporations with organizations with companies with partnerships etc.  

                How do you settle the ability of government to limit the scope of a professional corporation's business and membership with the 1st amendment?  In case you don't know, a professional corporation shareholders must only include professionals (i.e. a law firm corp can't have a doctor as a shareholder and can't engage in commercial business like selling clothes).  

                How do you settle the ability of the government to tie a religious organizations tax exempt status to its willingness not to electioneer?  

                These would all be violations of the 1st amendment if CU is taken to the logical extent because they limit speech or membership based on the characteristics of the organization.  

                What you are arguing is that we can't treat different organizations differently because of the type of group that they choose to form?  A sort of equal protection argument.  

                Okay - but than how do you justify the existence of corporations at all?   Obviously corporations, and the people who make them up, gain advantages from being part of the corporation.  Shouldn't they lose their preferential tax treatment? Their limited liability status?  Why should religious organizations be treated differently tax wise from every other organization?  Shouldn't all organizations of people be treated the same?  

                We already make distinctions between different types of organizations and companies based on who they are and what type of practice they are engaged in.  Except now, we don't do in this 1 particular area for this 1 particular business entity.  Corporations - all the benefits of personhood, but none of the drawbacks.  

                •  A lot of churches, actually, are corporations. (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  campionrules, VClib

                  All states have religious corporation laws under which churches incorporate.

                •  burlydee - you are just wrong (0+ / 0-)

                  In the US most all churches are organized as corporations.

                  "let's talk about that"

                  by VClib on Thu Aug 09, 2012 at 03:15:28 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I'll admit I'm wrong about as churches as corps (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    priceman

                    but it is simply not true that a church free speech rights are derived from its setting up itself as a corporation.  A church incorporates to free its members from legal obligations, so that it may pass property, so that it can sue - it does not incorporate to gain the rights to free speech.  Incorporation does not grant to the corporation civil rights apart from its members.  

                    •  burlydee - I think johnny's point is different (0+ / 0-)

                      If you start inhibiting the speech rights of corporations what happens to groups like the NAACP and Sierra Club as well as churches? That's why this issue is so difficult to craft legislation or constitutional amendments.

                      "let's talk about that"

                      by VClib on Thu Aug 09, 2012 at 04:38:27 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  No it's not different (0+ / 0-)

                        churches operated before 1886 as did newspapers. basically every claim Johnny has made has been a false game of semantics conflating legal constructs of people with profit making corporations having 1st amendment rights  in and of themselves. burlydee is absolutely right.

                        A church incorporates to free its members from legal obligations, so that it may pass property, so that it can sue - it does not incorporate to gain the rights to free speech.  Incorporation does not grant to the corporation civil rights apart from its members.  
                        The NAACP and Sierra Club are separate from churches which incorporated before the Bill of Rights even existed in medieval europe. The silly game of semantics to, I don't know, agree with Mitt Romney on a Democratic site, forgets this history and tried to tie the 1st amendment to the existence of any incorporated group of people with separate legal rights by the legal process.

                        But the Sierra club cannot stop Big Oil and the NAACP as good as they have done in the past cannot fight the expansion starting from giving corporations 1st amendment rights which in turn gives for profit prisons 1st amendment rights basically enslaving black people all over again. WE need legal protection form corporations, specifically profit making entities.

                        I'm sorry many here don't know this. I really am.

                        ‎A) "Bipartisan usually means that a larger-than-usual deception is being carried out." - George Carlin B) "The administration should be worried about the level of despair here." ~Markos Moulitsas at NN12

                        by priceman on Thu Aug 09, 2012 at 08:39:08 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

    •  I agree (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PhilJD

      and I usually agree with Greenwald, but you laid out some important distinctions.

      ‎A) "Bipartisan usually means that a larger-than-usual deception is being carried out." - George Carlin B) "The administration should be worried about the level of despair here." ~Markos Moulitsas at NN12

      by priceman on Thu Aug 09, 2012 at 10:18:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Here's a thought: (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    priceman, poligirl, Nada Lemming

    In capitalism, money means everything.

    In socialism, and particularly the form of socialism that is not structured around a centralized government (anarcho-socialism, a much misunderstood concept) no entity would have this "money-bought speech" or any other capital advantage over citizens.

    Thus, it would seem to me that Greenwald, the ACLU, Turley and others of similar bent suffer from a streak of classical liberalism, i.e., capitalist. It is the belief in capital that underlies the view that money is speech.

    Only in capitalism is money elevated to have such a prominent role as a fundamental right of power and influence.

    From the wiki link above:

    For classical liberalism, rights are of a negative nature—rights that require that other individuals (and governments) refrain from interfering with individual liberty, whereas social liberalism (also called modern liberalism or welfare liberalism) holds that individuals have a right to be provided with certain benefits or services by others.[27] Unlike social liberals, classical liberals are "hostile to the welfare state."[22] They do not have an interest in material equality but only in "equality before the law".[28] Classical liberalism is critical of social liberalism and takes offense at group rights being pursued at the expense of individual rights.[29]
    Take away this awe of money and private property rights, and the whole basis of the corporate free speech argument disappears. In other words, this definition of speech only works in capitalistic societies. IN fact, all adherents to capitalism, no matter how "socially liberal" they may be, to some degree give a greater degree of privilege, including speech, to those with the most property, including raw capital, because this is the very basis of capitalism. Property and money provide greater power in capitalism. No matter what the supreme court says, in capitalism money will always buy speech, the question is simply how much, or to what degree.

    "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act". -George Orwell

    by ZhenRen on Thu Aug 09, 2012 at 09:39:09 AM PDT

    •  Well that's one way to take care of it (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ZhenRen

      Either way the task is quite daunting to get from here to there. Thanks for your comment, ZhenRen.

      ‎A) "Bipartisan usually means that a larger-than-usual deception is being carried out." - George Carlin B) "The administration should be worried about the level of despair here." ~Markos Moulitsas at NN12

      by priceman on Thu Aug 09, 2012 at 10:05:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Socialism is "in" again... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        priceman

        Might as well bring it up as a solution.

        Just because incrementalism (i.e., do next to nothing in terms of real change) holds sway at the moment doesn't mean real solutions can't be part of the discussion.

        "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act". -George Orwell

        by ZhenRen on Thu Aug 09, 2012 at 10:30:49 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Indeed. Nothing is taboo in these times. nt (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ZhenRen

          ‎A) "Bipartisan usually means that a larger-than-usual deception is being carried out." - George Carlin B) "The administration should be worried about the level of despair here." ~Markos Moulitsas at NN12

          by priceman on Thu Aug 09, 2012 at 10:39:58 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  It takes some immersion in legal scholarship (0+ / 0-)

    to confront the CU crisis. Current political leadership lacks an effective analysis of the type that, for example,  Lincoln provided after Dred Scott, or TR in his trust busting days. Popularizers focus on corporate personhood, which  CU did not rely on in its holding. Stevens was right, and corporate personhood is not what opened the door to the plutocratic coup d'etat. The blurring of political and commercial speech was accomplished in the Nixon Court's Buckley v. Valeo, ushering in a new era of corruption now locked in place by Arizona Free Enterprise. To acquaint yourself with the constitutional options going forward, I recommend the recent articles of attorney Robert Hager at Counterpunch, OpEdnews and elsewhere, his amicus brief opposing the American Tradition Partnership cert petition, also the scholarship of Larry Kachimba, moneyouttapolitics.org, and  the Eleventh Amendment movement website.    

    •  That is factually incorrect (0+ / 0-)

      I don't know where you are getting that from but corporate personhood comes from Santa Clara County vs Southern Pacific Railroad. Buckley vs Valeo did base it's decisions on corporations having 1st amendment rights on the parts which come from that case. I would suggest reading my diary in full.

      It is true that new precedent involving FEC appointments were set by that case, but it did uphold some spending limits from  Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 for individuals but not groups.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/...

      Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U.S. 1 (1976), was a case in which the Supreme Court of the United States upheld a federal law which set limits on campaign contributions, but ruled that spending money to influence elections is a form of constitutionally protected free speech, and struck down portions of the law. The court also ruled candidates can give unlimited amounts of money to their own campaigns.

      Without the first amendment argument it has no legs and that also comes from Santa Clara County vs Southern Pacific Railroad. If any of that is denied in those references, I'm not interested. It may not be the entire basis for everything in Buckley vs Valeo, but it's certainly a big part.

      ‎A) "Bipartisan usually means that a larger-than-usual deception is being carried out." - George Carlin B) "The administration should be worried about the level of despair here." ~Markos Moulitsas at NN12

      by priceman on Thu Aug 09, 2012 at 10:17:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The 1st A. precedent relied on in CU (0+ / 0-)

        was from Buckley and progeny. Assuming you disagree with this line of precedent and seek effective election spending regulation, my comment references to research developed by the attorneys actively litigating the issue, such as in amicus briefs to the Supreme Court. This information should be valuable to you, given your commitment to curbing corporate control of elections.    

  •  That which is created by government (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    priceman

    cannot have rights equal to those for whom and by whom government was created.

    Medic Alert: Do not resuscitate under a Republican administration.

    by happymisanthropy on Thu Aug 09, 2012 at 11:16:07 AM PDT

    •  Absolutely, happymisanthropy. nt (0+ / 0-)

      ‎A) "Bipartisan usually means that a larger-than-usual deception is being carried out." - George Carlin B) "The administration should be worried about the level of despair here." ~Markos Moulitsas at NN12

      by priceman on Thu Aug 09, 2012 at 12:14:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The court reporter in the famed Santa Clara County (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    priceman, burlydee, PhilJD

    v. Southern Pacific Railroad Company case was actually the former CEO of The Newburgh and New York Railroad Company apporinted to this position by a conservative Justice. This unlikely court reporter, Bancroft Davis, had been a political player for years and his involvement was no accident of history.

    I'd tip you but they cut off my tip box. "There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.” - Frank Zappa

    by OHdog on Thu Aug 09, 2012 at 11:37:06 AM PDT

    •  Wow, that is the missing piece of the puzzle (0+ / 0-)

      Thank you for this comment, OHdog.

      No accident of history, indeed. He caused a lot of damage to this country.

      ‎A) "Bipartisan usually means that a larger-than-usual deception is being carried out." - George Carlin B) "The administration should be worried about the level of despair here." ~Markos Moulitsas at NN12

      by priceman on Thu Aug 09, 2012 at 12:15:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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