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Forum Post: Why Corporations shouldn't be considered people MITT!

Posted 6 years ago on Jan. 7, 2012, 1:17 p.m. EST by paulg5 (673)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

Corporate Personhood should be abolish or at least rewriten in such a way as to give the peoples vote equal advantage. The persuasive power of lobbying with financial contributions as an insentave gives corporations an unfair advantage and subjects government officials to bribrery and extorsion. The practice of corporate Personhood gives corporate needs priority and the ability to narrow decision making entirely in their favor. Corporations have a dual vote in that each member of the corporation and it's shareholders have individual voting capabilities, as well as the corporations persuasive vote. Corporate influence through campaign contributions brought about by lobying creates an advantage that the adverage person or group does not have. A corporation in and of itself can not vote, corporations are brands and are all associate inclusive, they have no identification of individuality outside of their brand and are not persons




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[-] 4 points by reckoning (53) 6 years ago

Romney is a corporate whore.

[-] 3 points by flip (7101) 6 years ago

chomsky on corporate persons - Morton Horwitz writes in his standard legal history that the concept of corporate personhood evolved alongside the shift of power from shareholders to managers, and finally to the doctrine that “the powers of the board of directors “are identical with the powers of the corporation.” In later years, corporate rights were expanded far beyond those of persons, notably by the mislabeled “free trade agreements.” Under these agreements, for example, if General Motors establishes a plant in Mexico, it can demand to be treated just like a Mexican business (“national treatment”)–quite unlike a Mexican of flesh and blood who might seek “national treatment” in New York, or even minimal human rights.

A century ago, Woodrow Wilson, then an academic, described an America in which “comparatively small groups of men,” corporate managers, “wield a power and control over the wealth and the business operations of the country,” becoming “rivals of the government itself.”

In reality, these “small groups” increasingly have become government’s masters. The Roberts court gives them even greater scope.

[-] 1 points by paulg5 (673) 6 years ago

This further explains much earlier than I expected late 19th century, they have had plenty of time thinking up ways to exploit this one!


[-] -2 points by slammersworldisback (-217) 6 years ago

Actually 'corporate personhood" was established in 1886 by the SCOTUS in a decision based on the the Equal Protection clause of the 14th amendment.....granting corporations the same protections as citizens against inequitable tax policy (the deduction of property debt against property taxes, which was allowed by individuals).....


It is not based in the political realm at all, and corporations are just groups of people combined under a legal definition...so they are "people", regardless of what you feel about it....

Both Chomsky and Wilson are progressive liberal hacks, the likes of which are the cause of most of the destruction of the US economic system...

The SCOTUS has ruled repeatedly that these groups of persons (corporations) DO have rights equal to those of the persons who formed them.......

[-] 1 points by flip (7101) 6 years ago

no shit slammer - nobody said it was a legislative creation - did you miss this line -Morton Horwitz writes in his standard legal history? notice legal history!! once again you show your ignorance - to call chomsky a liberal hack is just plain dumb but to put him in the same sentence as wilson shows you do not know how to use google - here is what noam thinks of wilson - i will throw in a bit more for your enlightenment (read the part about reagan - he is probably your hero)! ... "His deconstruction of Woodrow Wilson’s idealism will warm the hearts of old conservatives who would like a recount of the 1916 presidential election to give victory to Charles Evans Hughes, a decent statesman and jurist who was more likely to have kept the country out of the First World War. And his take on Barack Hussein Obama is more coherent and scathing than anything the Fox hounds have come up with to date.........................The liberal intelligentsia cannot bear Chomsky because, in this book as in many earlier publications and speeches, he calls their bluff. He compares contemporary liberal “humanitarian military intervention” with the rhetorical justification Adolf Hitler used when his duty to protect the German minority obliged him to invade Czechoslovakia. Conquerors invariably claim the moral high ground, like schoolyard bullies who beat the smaller kids “for their own good.” Columbus claimed the high moral purpose of bringing Christianity—that is, salvation—to the Caribs, Arawaks, and other peoples of the Caribbean who were soon exterminated. The French brought civilization to Algeria in 1830, coincidentally taking—as the British would soon do in other parts of Africa—the most fertile land for white colonists. The American Army burned villages in Vietnam to save them. Many in the public, thanks to effective propaganda, believe the justifications and avert their eyes from the harm done in their name.

“Chomsky—as well as pointing out that Ronald Reagan increased the power of the state in many areas and often intervened in the economy on behalf of certain interests—goes after the pantheon of liberalism. His deconstruction of Woodrow Wilson’s idealism will warm the hearts of old conservatives.”

That all conquerors have something in common (the means and will to conquer others) somehow goes against faith in America’s exceptional status in world history. Chomsky writes that “the doctrine appears to be close to a historical universal, including the worst monsters: Hitler, Stalin, the conquistadors—it is hard to find an exception. Aggression and terror are almost invariably portrayed as self-defense and dedication to inspiring visions.” When the US does what other powers have done, it usually does so in the same way and with the same excuses that ought to be examined more closely. After all, the US is a democracy in which the public can—through protests, boycotts and occasionally votes—influence its nation’s policies. Public demands rather than direction from Washington and Wall Street ended legal racial segregation, allowed homosexuals to live without fear of imprisonment, brought women into the workplace on a more equal footing and brought the troops home from Vietnam. That activism was soon called “an excess of democracy” by the liberals in Jimmy Carter’s administration and was slowly strangled in the years that followed—thanks, in no small part, to the destruction of free associations of working people in unions and their steady loss of income.

Chomsky—as well as pointing out that Ronald Reagan increased the power of the state in many areas and often intervened in the economy on behalf of certain interests—goes after the pantheon of liberalism. His deconstruction of Woodrow Wilson’s idealism will warm the hearts of old conservatives who would like a recount of the 1916 presidential election to give victory to Charles Evans Hughes, a decent statesman and jurist who was more likely to have kept the country out of the First World War. And his take on Barack Hussein Obama is more coherent and scathing than anything the Fox hounds have come up with to date. He compares Obama’s “grass roots army,” which he can call upon to sell his policies but not to influence them, unfavorably with real grass roots armies in Bolivia and Brazil who sent people into power to represent them and not the plutocracy that has run their countries since independence. In fact, it is in grass roots movements in Latin America that Chomsky finds the hopes and prospects of his title most evident. They bear a stronger resemblance to the revolutionaries who threw kingship out of North America and wrote the first Bill of Rights than does the resident in the White House.

[-] -1 points by slammersworldisback (-217) 6 years ago

nice copy/paste.......

Chomsky and Wilson were both mentioned in the previous post..that was the connection, and only that...and yes, they are both hacks.....

Chomsky has a lot to say about economics, but where is his practical expertise? tell me what his massively successful business enterprise is?......oh, right, he doesn't have one..and yet he pretends to know what he is talking about when he criticizes those who do have successful ventures and the ideology they use to become successful.....sorry, arguments from authority are logical fallacy...show me the money

(or results, if you don't understand the metaphor)

[-] 1 points by flip (7101) 6 years ago

so since he has not fleeced the public he is not qualified to speak on such matters - that makes a lot of sense. remember that others may read this silliness. when someone says something an intelligent person decides what is correct and incorrect in what he says not does he have a phd or ma - does he make sense or not. so tell me where he is wrong and we can go on - here is more from noam while you think about a good response - take you time read carefully - i am going to my daughters to make dinner - you will need the time! ,......."Herrnstein’s argument is based first of all on the hypothesis that differences in mental abilities are inherited and that people close to one another in mental ability are more likely to marry and reproduce so that there will be a tendency toward long-term stratification by mental ability (which Herrnstein takes to be measured by I.Q). Secondly, Herrnstein argues that ‘success’ requires mental ability and that social rewards ‘depend on success’. This step in the argument embodies two assumptions: that it is so in fact; and that it must be so for society to function effectively. The conclusion is that there is a tendency toward hereditary meritocracy, with ‘social standing (which reflects earnings and prestige)’ concentrated in groups with higher I.Q.s. This tendency will be accelerated as society becomes more egalitarian, that is, as artificial social barriers are eliminated, defects in prenatal (e.g., nutritional) environment are overcome, and so on, so that natural ability can play a more direct role in attainment of social reward. Therefore, as society becomes more egalitarian, social rewards will be concentrated in a hereditary meritocratic elite …

For Herrnstein’s argument to have any force at all we must assume that people labor only for gain, and that the satisfaction found in interesting or socially beneficial work or in work well-done or in the respect shown to such activities, is not a sufficient ‘gain’ to induce anyone to work. The assumption, in short, is that without material reward, people will vegetate. For this crucial assumption, no semblance of an argument is offered. Rather, Herrnstein merely asserts that if bakers and lumberjacks ‘got the top salaries and the top social approval’, in place of those now at the top of the social ladder, then ‘the scale of I.Q.s would also invert’, and the most talented would strive to become bakers and lumberjacks. This, of course, is not an argument, but merely a reiteration of the claim that, necessarily, individuals work only for extrinsic reward. Furthermore, it is an extremely implausible claim. I doubt very much that Herrnstein would become a baker or lumberjack if he could earn more money that way … [His] assumption that people will work only gain in wealth and power is not only unargued, but quite probably false, except under extreme deprivation. But this degrading and brutal assumption, common to capitalist ideology and the behaviorist view of human beings, is fundamental to Herrnstein’s argument …

Consider further Herrnstein’s assumption that in fact social rewards accrue to those who perform beneficial and needed services. He claims that the ‘gradient of occupations’ is ‘a natural measure of value and scarcity’, and that ‘the ties among I.Q., occupation, and social standing make practical sense’ … To assume that society’s rewards go to those who have performed a social service is to succumb to essentially the same fallacy (among others) involved in the claim that a free market leads to the optimal satisfaction of wants. In fact, when wealth is badly distributed, a free market will tend to produce luxuries for the few who can pay, rather than necessities for the many who cannot. Similarly, given great inequalities of wealth, we will expect to find that the ‘gradient of occupations’ by pay is a natural measure, not of service to society but of service to wealth and power, to those who can purchase and compel. The ties among I.Q., occupation, and social standing that Herrnstein notes make ‘practical sense’ for those with wealth and power, but not necessarily for society or its members in general …

[-] 1 points by paulg5 (673) 6 years ago

Guys Guys Guys.......I just know when I'm being bamboozled! You can call a swine in makeup and an evening gown a princess, but at face value she's still a PIG!

[-] 1 points by flip (7101) 6 years ago

can you expand on that thought - inst or assoc - all the same - what is your thinking about corporations and persons

[-] 1 points by paulg5 (673) 6 years ago

The same as I stated in the opener.

[-] 1 points by francismjenkins (3713) 6 years ago

I think an even more important step would be to limit the access lobbyists have to our elected officials (and their staffs). This is something congress could do legislatively (and would do if there was enough public pressure). Constitutional amendments are very difficult propositions (and I don't see these initiatives having a good chance of success). An anti-lobbying law could look something like this--congressmen/women, their staffs, campaign workers, etc., may not participate in a private meeting with any lobbyist (or representative of any interest group), save meetings that are in furtherance of traditional congressional duties (like helping veterans who are having problems dealing with a government agency, writing a recommendation letter for a constituent to attend a service academy, etc.).

All meetings with lobbyists or other representatives of special interest groups, will be held in public (each congressman will hold regularly scheduled public meetings, in their districts, allowing full public access, no special access granted to any group or individual, where both members of the public and representatives of special interests, such as corporations, can comment on legislation, make suggestions, etc.). The rule could even require public meetings before a vote on any legislation (with required media access). The law should also allow public interest groups "standing" to petition a federal court to compel enforcement of this regulation (in the event of noncompliance by a member of congress).

In addition, congress could pass a law prohibiting its members from attending fundraising events, where access is restricted. In other words, fundraising events like dinners (where wealthy contributors are allowed exceptional access to elected officials and political candidates) would not be allowed, unless there was full public access (and obviously a regulatory framework that provided redress if elected officials or candidates tried to circumvent the rule by, for instance, holding "sham" public events, which are public in name only).

[-] 1 points by paulg5 (673) 6 years ago

I like you ideas!

[+] -6 points by ZenDogTroll (13032) from South Burlington, VT 6 years ago

I suspect the kind of public pressure required to get Congress to act on such a measure is in all probability not far removed from that required to pass a 28th Amendment.

It would require sustained pressure over time - as will this. And this measure is already picking up steam.

[-] 1 points by francismjenkins (3713) 6 years ago

Indeed, and the idea of pressuring congress to do a better job of policing its own behavior, and a constitutional amendment (to clarify what should have been obvious, corporations are legal fictions created by law, they are not persons) ... are of course not mutually exclusive ideas. However, a rule where congress limits its own behavior, could be passed by a majority in the house, and 60 votes in the Senate (assuming a filibuster), whereas a constitutional amendment requires 2/3 of congress, and ratification by 32 states (no easy task).

Also, I do think the lobbying issue is more important than political advertising, for one fairly obvious reason. Advertising is, by its nature, public and transparent, whereas lobbying is (by its nature) secretive (it happens behind closed doors). Sure, advertising can spread misinformation, but I'd rather trust my own savvy (and ability to discern truth from propaganda), as opposed to trusting members of congress to do the right thing and avoid undue influence by special interests (particularly since we already know they won't). I mean, requiring the kind of public hearings I'm suggesting, would I think create a new political paradigm in this country. I also think we should approach the amendment process very carefully. Citizens United left many unresolved legal questions, and this is a far from settled issue. We need to pressure congress to pass new (well crafted) legislation, and we need to be in it for the long haul.

[-] 1 points by francismjenkins (3713) 6 years ago

Here's the legal irony. When it comes to actual people, governments may impose "time, place, and manner" restrictions on free speech (language you'll find nowhere in the Constitution), whereas the Court only "strictly" construes the First Amendment in favor of corporations.

[-] 1 points by BearDickinson (125) from Ewing, VA 6 years ago

Just one simple question - Can a corporation vote ? and i gotta point out - my 1 vote counts the same as Bill Gates' 1 vote, no ?

[-] 3 points by beautifulworld (22851) 6 years ago

Technically, but after you vote, Bill Gates' money and the money of other wealthy people, and the corporations they own and run, control your politicians like robots. They also pay for their campaigns to control who you vote for in the first place.

[-] 2 points by flip (7101) 6 years ago

no it does not - don't you know the correlation between money and elections - it is the news every day - how much is this one or that one raising. 1 billion for a job that pays 400k - what does that tell you.

[-] 2 points by paulg5 (673) 6 years ago

No they can not cast a single vote. But corporations are considered legally to be people which gives them the right to lobby. The power and money behind corporations gives them an unfair advantage.

[-] 0 points by philosophersstoned (233) from Gypsum, CO 6 years ago

Can we nominate a corporation for President? I've been wondering about that recently.

[-] 0 points by Rico (3027) 6 years ago

Corporations are people. So are unions, trade groups, and Grannies for Gun Control. These are all associations of people, and the people choosing to associate and speak or act in unison do not lose their right to do so simply because they choose to associate. There's nothing an association of people can do that the individuals couldn't do according to their personal rights; all the shareholders of a corporation could pool their funds and run an ad for a candidate for example. Likewise for all the members of a union.

The issue you are addressing is really one of direct campaign contributions, and the Supreme Court has upheld our right to do so according to McCain-Feingold.

Because a corporation or union can still call for all their people to contribute in unison, I am in favor of banning all contributions and using the existing Federal Election Campaign Fund instead. Nobody should be able to contribute because many can't afford to, and it's not fair to the poor that the affluent have a louder voice because they have money. See http://www.themultitude.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=47&p=4355#p4355 .

Corporate 'personhood' is not the issue, it's political donations, and the Supreme Court has supported the right of Congress to limit them. We don't need a constitutional amendment or convention, we just need to revise McCain-Feingold.

[-] 1 points by paulg5 (673) 6 years ago

Legally your correct corporations are people but only for the reasons you mention, reasons which obviously sway in favor of the masses with the most money who get the most attention! So laws are made or bills are passed because of the funds supplied by groups of people who inevitability want some kind of control or favor. In reality a collective group of people are individually people and have voice and a vote, but why should they have an advantage because they are a group? You seem to just accept what you are told without question!

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 6 years ago

Nope. I am only trying to help people understand the legal basis behind the "personhood" statement. Many don't seem to understand it. It's just a legal convenience. Law is very practical and there's no point in trying to pass a law banning an association of people from acting in unison simply because they have formally declared they intend to do so. They could simply exercise their individual rights to do exactly the same thing, so the law would really only be making the act of formal declaration illegal. You can't make a formal declaration to do something legal illegal. It's just silly. Thus, for all intents and purposes under the law, and association of people is a "person."

My comment above specifically said I oppose the ability of anyone to use money to in any way influence politics. I even pointed to the legal basis (McCain-Feingold) that has been ruled constitutional by the Supreme Court.

[-] 1 points by shoozTroll (17632) 6 years ago

If I grant you that " corporations are people"?

Will grant me this?

That the cost of that is passed on to " we the consumers", as a kind of hidden, uncontrolled sales TAX, as it used to legislate, influence and administer government.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 6 years ago

I agree, of course. I'm not pro-corporation, I'm just pointing out some of the legal issues.

[-] 1 points by shoozTroll (17632) 6 years ago

I find a hidden tax, a pretty strong legal issue.

One that has never been presented in the MSM, or much of anywhere else for that matter.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 6 years ago

Sometimes we just have to accept a little bad with the good. As I note in the comment above ( http://occupywallst.org/forum/why-corporations-shouldnt-be-considered-people-mit/#comment-572737 ), there's just no good way to prohibit assoications of people from acting in unison if they agree. The shareholders own the business, and they can charge whatever they want for their products. We the People don't have to buy their products and can sure let them know we won't if they keep spending on politics, but we can't prevent them from associating, silence their speech, of prevent them from spending their money just like your or I.

We can ban direct political contributions per McCain-Fiengold, but there's not much we can do about speech without trammeling on individual liberties. We can ignore their ads, refuse to buy their products, etc, we just can't silence them.

[-] 1 points by shoozTroll (17632) 6 years ago

I find that a BIG bad.

A very big bad.

I find it borders on the treasonous.

It is representation, with NO responsibility to the voting public.

It is a non negotiable, non reported, non deductible TAX.

Get the money out!!!

[-] 1 points by flip (7101) 6 years ago

institutions are not people - the catholic church is not a person - a person cannot live forever or be all over the world at the same time - just because they are made up of people doesn't make them people - was the nazi army a person!

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 6 years ago

We're not talking about whether a corporation or other association of people is really a living, breathing, human being. We're simply saying that anything a group of individuals can do, a formal association of them can do as well. In the context of this post, we're talking about the ability to pool funds and spend them in unison, to elect a spokesperson that speaks on their behalf, etc. A corporation is one such formal association of people. Unions are another. The Sierra Club is another. Though branches of government are precluded for forming independent associations, a hundred private citizens who happen to love guns can form an association and act in unison. The NRA is an example. Likewise a group of old people can chose to associate and act in unison. The AARP is an example.

[-] 1 points by paulg5 (673) 6 years ago

OK so let them have their club association corporation or whatever, How do we get the money out of the equasion!

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 6 years ago

We can't prevent individuals or associations of individuals from engaging in independent speech. McCain-Feingold does limit the amount of money individuals and associations of individuals can contribute directly to a campaign, and this power has been upheld by the Supreme Court.

We may be able to ban all broadcast speech that occurs within some time period before an election. This would not be unlike current laws that ban campaigning inside the polling place. It would have to apply to all speakers because of the 14th amendment's equal protection guarantee, so even the media companies (including newspapers) would not be allowed to speak for or against a candidate near an election. In my opinion, this would be a good thing. We don't need to be hearing Rush Limbaugh or Rachael Maddow's opinion about who we should be voting for in the final days near an election.

As I have noted in my post over at themultitudes.org ( http://www.themultitude.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=47&p=4355&sid=c243b72aaf91148a537577a00684f080#p4355 ), I'm in favor of ramping the McCain-Feindgold limits down to zero, expanding the existing Federal Election Campaign Fund, and using it as the sole source of campaign funding.

[-] 2 points by paulg5 (673) 6 years ago

Your ideas on Themultitude.org are good but in many ways would be seen by the general public as taking away their right to choose. Currently with the state of the economy I don't think we want to ramp up funding for any federal program especially one for campaigns. Beside the right to contribute or not should be left up to the individual. I think what we need to do is control the funding that comes in so every candidate gets a fair shot. And the way to do that would be to have a democratic and republican campaign fund, no more direct funding to specific candidates. This would go along way in taking out the bartering for favors that exists now. The funds would be equally distributed to each candidate at predetermined points throughout the campaign. After the conventions when one candidate is chosen by each party the two funds (democratic and republican) will merge into one fund The Presidential Campaign Fund. The fund once again equally distributed at designated time during the campaign until election day.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 6 years ago

The vast majority of American's do not contribute to campaigns. Remember, there are over 300 million of us. If we each gave $50 to our candidate, there would be $15 billion spent on the presidential election. As it stands, only $176 million has been raised by all candidates in the current election thus far (see http://www.opensecrets.org/pres12/index.php), and that includes donations from corporations.

The relatively small number of people who do donate to candidates and PACs do so specifically to try and amplify their own voice above that of those who do not or can not afford to contribute. That's wrong. Every man and woman has one voice, and they're all supposed to have equal weight.

Using the same figures as in the first paragraph, if each household contributed only one dollar to the Federal Campaign Fund, it would have $300 million dollars, nearly twice what has been raised thus far. The cost of this fund is low and it's value very high as it cleans up our political system and helps restore the democracy to We the People. The cost, by the way, need not equal for all taxpayers, it would be taken by a percentage of taxes paid under our already progressive income tax. The poor would pay little or nothing. The mount of money needed to campaign could also be reduced by using PBS/C-SPAN to provide airtime and Amtrak or the fleet of aircraft the government already owns to transport the candidates.

One comment you made, really offends me, and that has to do with further increasing the power of the two national parties. My approach specifically breaks up the power of the two parties by funding multiple candidates who have collected sufficient signatures of registered voters. We might fund, for example, the top 5 or fewer candidates from those having supporting signatures from at least 1% of the eligible voters. This allows We the People to hear a wider range of ideas; if a bunch of my fellow citizens thinks a man or woman has ideas I should hear, I want to hear them.

I wouldn't down-select the number of candidates. I have no problem seeing 5 candidates for president on my ballot. I do have a problem with seeing only two who have a chance due to the enormous money machines behind them.

[-] 1 points by flip (7101) 6 years ago

yes but now as to the rights of persons???? aarp no! people have certain rights that institutions do not - very simple point - agreed?

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 6 years ago

I haven't seen the term "institutions" in any of the legal findings I've been reading. All refer to people choosing to associate and act or speak in unison.

Let's tick down the key rights in the constitution...

  • 1st Amendment. Associations have the right to assemble, worship, speak, and petition for redress.
  • 2nd Amendment: There's no living person who can keep and bear the arms in an association. The individual members retain this right.
  • 3rd Amendment: The government can't quarter troops in property owned by an association any more than they can quarter them in a member's home.
  • 4th Amendment: The property held by an association can't be search or seized without probable cause.
  • 5th Amendment: There is no physical person, so an association can't be imprisoned or convicted of a crime. Thus trial by jury, self incrimination, etc. are not relevant. The property held by an association cannot be seized without compensation.
  • 6th Amendment: There is no physical person, so none of the rights regarding trial by jury are relevant.
  • 7th Amendment: Associations are subject to financial penalties under civil law.
  • 8th Amendment: Bail and unusual punishment don't apply to associations as there is no physical person.
  • 14th Amendment: Associations are entitled to equal protection.

It appears only 5.5 of 9 rights would apply to associations (the half is from the 5th amendment eminent domain right). The answer to your question is therefore: Yes, it appears to me that individuals have almost twice as many rights as associations of people.

A lot of folks get unset when the realize that associations of people don't have the same criminal liability as individual people. This is simply because there is no actual physical person to prosecute and we can't declare all shareholders "guilty by association." The actual person(s) who committed the crime(s) can be tried, and every person who knowingly participated in its planning can be convicted of conspiracy.

It's also important to note that associations can be tried in civil court. In this courts, the punishment is financial, and associations of people can be sued.

[-] 1 points by flip (7101) 6 years ago

ok, so you are good at math - now think - i guess there is no such thing as an institution in your mind - what is in there. your response has no bearing on what i said - try again

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 6 years ago

What are you defining as an "institution ?" That term is not used in any of the legal material I have been reading. Can you provide an example of an "institution" you're interested in ?

[-] 1 points by flip (7101) 6 years ago

should i go on google and find a definition - you can't do that? this is a bit silly don't you think - define legal and the answer to the last question is no i cannot - i need to go to work - wage slave!

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 6 years ago

OK, then I'll work with the broad definition from the dictionary.

"Institution: an organization, establishment, foundation, society, or the like, devoted to the promotion of a particular cause or program, especially one of a public, educational, or charitable character."

It sounds to me like most "institutions" that fit the above definitions would fit the legal definition of an association of people.

Now go back and read my answer given in regards the rights of associations versus institutions knowing that they are one and the same.

[-] 2 points by flip (7101) 6 years ago

does not change anything i said - so the catholic church is an "association of people" - one that has lived for a thousand years and murdered countless millions and should have the same rights according to the founding fathers as you or me? and what about the nazi ss - an association don't you think - or dow chemical or exxon - all with the rights of person. the are fascist organizations that do not sleep or die and can be everywhere on the globe at once. keep defending them if you like but they will crush you like a grape if you get in their way - and sooner or later you will!


[-] 1 points by paulg5 (673) 6 years ago

Legally your correct corporations are people but only for the reasons you mention, reasons which obviously sway in favor of the masses with the most money who get the most attention! So laws are made or bills are passed because of the funds supplied by groups of people who inevitability want some kind of control or favor. In reality a collective group of people are individually people and have voice and a vote, but why should they have an advantage because they are a group? You seem to just accept what you are told without question!

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 6 years ago

Nope. I am only trying to help people understand the legal basis behind the "personhood" statement. Many don't seem to understand it. It's just a legal convenience.

My comment above specifically said I oppose the ability of anyone to use money to in any way influence politics. I even pointed to the legal basis (McCain-Feingold) that has been ruled constitutional by the Supreme Court.

[-] 1 points by paulg5 (673) 6 years ago

Sorry but to me people are thinking functioning breathing human beings Not Multinational conglomerates. This system is so freaking screwed up!

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 6 years ago

We're talking about a fine point of law, and I posted my comment specifically because people were misinterpreting the language as meaning more than it does. It is simply a legal way of saying that people who chose to act in unison have the same rights as they did before they chose to associate. That's all.

Do you think you have a right to join up with your buddies, pool your money, and make a video opposing a Republican candidate who's policy runs counter to OWS ? Of course you have that right. So do others. It's neither improper nor surprising.

[-] 1 points by paulg5 (673) 6 years ago

But there is no direct government intervention in your example. People can "Act in Unison" all they want, but buying votes if not, should be considered unethical. Especially when it comes to corporations why should just a few have a voice for the many! I'm sure that not everyone who works for say XYZ corporation agrees with the CEO about his republican choice for president, but through a lobbyist $500,000 of company money is donated to that candidates campaign fund. The true voice of the group is not 100% compliant.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 6 years ago

First, direct donations to campaigns by associations of people and by individual people are limited under McCain-Feingold. This has been affirmed by the Supreme Court on multiple occasions. What were talking about here is the ability of people or associations of people to buy air time and run political ads.

The people in association under who are spending their money when a corporation decides to run an add are the shareholders, not the employees. The money being spent is from profits which would otherwise be distributed to the shareholders in the form of dividends or asset value of their company. If enough shareholders decided the corporation should not spend on politics, the company won't.

The employees can also form an association that spends on politics. A union is one such association common in America. In this case, the money being spent on politics comes from union dues. If a sufficient number of members decides the union should not spend on politics, then it wont. Remember, the CEO is hired by the shareholders.

In both cases, people in the association who are in a minority that feel there association should not spend money on politics, they should be free to leave the association. Shareholders can sell their stocks and union members can quit if they live in a state that allows them to not pay union dues even though most of their fellow employees have decided to associate in a union.

[-] 1 points by paulg5 (673) 6 years ago

As an employee and privately I have owned hundreds of shares in corporations and have never received a proxy that asked if I was in favor or opposed to campaign contributions! What are the limits placed by McCain-Feingold just wondering how Santorum came up with 1M overnight?

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 6 years ago

You have received a proxy asking you to vote for members of the board that decides such things, however, and you're free to sell your shares if the company is doing anything you don't like.

Corporations, unions, trade groups, etc typically operate as representative rather than direct democracies. Members vote for the leaders, and they make the day-today decisions. Members do not vote on each decision. If the leaders do not behave as a member feels appropriate, he or she can lobby for their replacement, collect signatures to try and convince them to change their practices, etc. A member's ultimate recourse is, of course, to simply leave the association.

You can read all about the current law regarding election funding at the Federal Election Commission (FEC) web-site ( http://www.fec.gov ). I often use the OpenSecrets site ( http://www.opensecrets.org ) as well because they provide a better user-interface for browsing the FEC data.

I didn't hear Santorum's comment. Can you elaborate ?

[-] 1 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 6 years ago

Im pretty sure the majority of Walmart's employees dont approve of the Walton's political views.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 6 years ago

The association of people behind a corporation is not comprised of employees but shareholders. The employees can certainly form their own association, join a union, etc.

[-] 1 points by paulg5 (673) 6 years ago

It would be safe to assume that an association is inclusive of employees, especially when employees are payed and federal tax and benefits are deducted as well as stocks or stock options that are often used as incentives by the company.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 6 years ago

No, it is not safe to assume such. The secretaries who do the typing for the Teamsters, for example, are not necessarily the members of the Teamsters union. Neither are the janitors hired by the union to clean the floors every night. The employees of a corporation are hired to provide a service to the corporation and that's all. If an employee buys a share of stock (or is given one), then he or she is a member of the association.

[-] 1 points by paulg5 (673) 6 years ago

Fact or assumption? Ok what about employees who have signed waivers to intellectual creative and property rights they are not included in this elitist group?

[-] 2 points by Rico (3027) 6 years ago

If you hire someone to solve a problem for you, then the contract will include a provision defining who owns the intellectual property to the resulting solution. This is true of material (patentable) and non-material (copyright) solutions. If the contract does not include such a provision, the parties will likely end up in court at some point, so it's pretty routine to include the provision in "boilerplate" just to prevent later problems.

There is no elitist group. The bulk of corporate shareholder are average American's who hold shares in the mutual funds of their 401k and IRA accounts. People approaching retirement typically hold a lot of stock in their portfolios. I'm 55, and I've been buying stock for over 30 years in my 401K. I'm not "an elitist."

The corporate construct is actually a good thing.

Image you want to start the OWS Hemp Shoe Company but don't have enough money to do so. You could go to the banksters and ask for a loan, but they'll declare your venture risky, charge you a lot for the loan, and demand you pay it back whether my company succeeds or not. Under these conditions, you are unlikely to start your business. You might come here and post a long diatribe about the evils of banking and how they prevent good ideas that could employ a lot of people from coming to fruition.

Sharing your disappointment, a bunch of us agree we think your idea is a great one and decide to help. We understand you can't afford to pay us back if you fail, so we instead agree to give you the money in exchange for some percentage of your profits if you make any. You agree, and the OWS Hemp Shoe Corporation is born with all of us serving as the shareholders. Initially, we all agree that you should be the CEO, and the company starts operations under your leadership.

After a few years, some of us discover we need our money back. Simple enough. We can sell our shares back to the corporation. ALternatively, there may be some other people who weren't able to get in on the ground floor but now want in on our success, so they offer to buy shares from anyone willing to sell them. The price at which someone is willing to sell his shares, depends of course, on what the seller thinks they're worth. With this ability to buy and sell shares, we just created the stock market.

After a few years of operation, some nut-job decides to run for election in the state in which we operate, declares hemp to be a marijuana product, and advocating banning its use as part of his campaign platform. We dismiss him at first, but then notice his polling numbers are rising. Alarmed, we decide to spend some of our profits to run ads to educate the public about hemp and oppose nut-job's election. In doing so, we have only spent the money of the shareholders to express an opinion we all share. Those who disagree are free, of course, to sell their shares and leave our group.

The corporate construct provides a source of low-cost capital for starting new companies with new ideas. It also provides a means for the "little guy" to play "businessman," own a part of a company, and reap the rewards of his investment even if he has only a modest amount of money.

Like banks, corporations provide a needed service in the economy and only become a problem when they amass too much power and become "too big to fail."

The repealed Glass-Steagall act regulated the size of banks by limiting the type of transactions a single bank can engage in, and an analogous measure for corporations would be to limit the number of products they can make. These type provisions, however, still allow a bank or corporation to get very large. Furthermore, splitting up the existing mega-corporations would be very difficult. An alternate approach might be to apply a progressive tax on businesses and banks based on revenue rather than profit. This would allow banks and corporations to remain diverse, but would encourage them to split themselves up into smaller businesses.

I'm sorry for rambling on so much ! Hopefully you've found enough value in my words to compensate you for the time spent reading.

[-] 1 points by paulg5 (673) 6 years ago

Interesting, but got a bit off the subject, thanks for you input!

[-] -1 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 6 years ago

Need to ban union contributions too.

[-] 2 points by paulg5 (673) 6 years ago


[-] 1 points by epa1nter (4650) from Rutherford, NJ 6 years ago

Need to make unionizing easier.

[-] 1 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 6 years ago

How can you make it any easier? If the people get together, then they get together. Thats it.

Whats so difficult about it?

[-] 1 points by epa1nter (4650) from Rutherford, NJ 6 years ago

Have you ever been a union organizer? I have, People get hurt. People lose their jobs. People are harassed. People even have contracts put out on their lives.

You have NO idea how difficult it is.

[-] 1 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 6 years ago

did you succeed?

[-] 2 points by epa1nter (4650) from Rutherford, NJ 6 years ago

About 50% of the time. The other 50% the owners got away with literally stealing thousands of dollars a week directly from their employees, providing unsafe working conditions, and violating basic labor laws with impunity. Too often, workers were made so afraid of their bosses, they wouldn't show up to vote, let alone testify about the abuses, fearing reprisals from them. I have literally seen managers beat employees with horse riding crops, breaking their fingers, claiming it was an accident in court and getting away with it.

I was lucky. When a contract was put out on my life by one business owner, I found out immediately and was able to contact my attorney, who had long standing ties to the FBI. They protected me. Although I survived that episode, the place never unionized: the workers were too scared. (The place eventually closed down when the boss was sent to jail for fraud, though.)

[-] -3 points by ZenDogTroll (13032) from South Burlington, VT 6 years ago
[-] 1 points by paulg5 (673) 6 years ago

Thank you!