commented on 28th Amendment 2014-05-15 22:29:41 -0400 · Flag
If we end corporate personhood, the corporations become zombies: above the law and difficult to kill. You gotta shoot them in the head, i.e. put their executives in prison.
commented on 28th Amendment 2014-05-15 15:41:05 -0400 · Flag
What about unicorns and gyrewolves?
commented on 28th Amendment 2014-05-15 15:16:28 -0400 · Flag
What about non-corporate lobby groups?
followed Rules 2014-05-10 16:13:22 -0400
commented on 28th Amendment 2014-05-09 19:21:01 -0400 · Flag
Problem with the first section is that it might take away the rights of the ACLU, the EFF, Greenpeace, and other nonprofits to conduct their campaigns, while reaffirming the draconian privileges granted to the United States Olympic Committee. Though those might be nullified as well, which is a good thing.
commented on 28th Amendment 2014-05-07 16:26:55 -0400 · Flag
Here’s the alternative I would suggest:

(I) No corporation, union, church, or other organized institution of human persons, foreign or domestic, with the sole exception of domestic governmental bodies subject to democratic control, may by law or lawful action of the United States Government or the governments of the States be granted any right equal to or surpassing a right of natural persons individually or severally.
(II) No officer or employee of the United States Government shall accept any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any persons individually or severally, or corporation, union, church, or other organized institution, foreign or domestic, with the sole exception of domestic governmental bodies, without the consent of Congress.
(III) Funds donated for the purpose of influencing elections or government decisions shall not be taxed or regulated when given by natural persons, individually or severally. Funds donated for the purpose of influencing elections or government decisions shall be prohibited when given by corporations, unions, churches, or other organized institutions, with the sole exception of domestic institutions organized for that purpose and funded only by donations from natural persons.
(IV) Public funding shall be provided for each United States federal election as conducted in each state, in an amount equal to twice the expenditure of private funds spent for the same election in that state, distributed equally to all candidates on that state’s ballot for that election.
(V) All United States elections shall use either Approval Voting with districts or open-list Proportional Representation without districts.
(VI) Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Summary: The first part says what we mean by “corporations aren’t people”. The second part bans the revolving door between government and big business. The third part guarantees free political speech for real people but bans it for corporations. The fourth part ensures that public funding is more important that private funds in elections. The fifth part breaks elections free from the “money=votes” system by requiring one of the only two kinds of voting that mathematically guarantee that the right voting strategy is to vote for your favorite candidate.
commented on 28th Amendment 2014-05-07 00:41:49 -0400 · Flag
But what if, as said once earlier, Congress guts the provisions so that they don’t serve their purpose and wind up harming individuals and small business?
commented on 28th Amendment 2014-05-06 22:31:36 -0400 · Flag
What about unions?
commented on 28th Amendment 2014-05-06 21:45:34 -0400 · Flag
@aidan: None of the actions suggested here would have any effect whatever on small corporations
commented on 28th Amendment 2014-05-06 21:30:12 -0400 · Flag
I fear this might adversely affect small businesses that don’t get involved in politics. Our targets are the big corporations that do lobby.
commented on 28th Amendment 2014-05-06 21:14:01 -0400 · Flag
@dan: “Simply removing corporate personhood is a terrible idea, it needs to be REPLACED”. At last, we find common ground. Yes; we have to decide how, as a society, we’re going to sanction non-human legal entities in such a way that they benefit society and can’t be used to concentrate financial or political power in the hands of unscrupulous predators. I think corporate charters deserve as much attention as the Constitution itself. I think my version is a good start insofar as prohibiting ANY U.S. corporation from participating in the conduct of government at any level. We could certainly add more universal “shalt-not’s” to the list of things artificially incorporated entities are forbidden to engage in, like publishing historical material of any kind or any kind of textbook. If certain prohibitions were included in every charter, according to the nature of the business, and it was a crime to violate the terms of such a corporate charter, it would be far easier to impose regulation on big corporations because the individual managers would have clear-cut legal guidelines to adhere to. Wouldn’t that make life simpler? No more Grays between the black and white. Let’s start with the central banks; what Prohibitions do the majority here think would be appropriate for ALL banks to be limited to? Should banks be allowed to own other banks? What would be an allowable reserve ratio? WE could answer ALL those sort of questions before a bank is ever sanctioned as a legal entity. Any manager that over-stepped the charter’s terms would be guilty of a very specific crime (and a new one in historical terms); the crime of “violating a corporate charter” . And they could be as draconian or mild as society makes them. But there would be logic, order, and consistency in the process. Wouldn’t that be a great place to start dismantling 300 years of Aristocratic business law? It should all go back to Latin anyhow.
commented on 28th Amendment 2014-05-06 17:32:53 -0400 · Flag
@william falberg That lawyers rationalize it that way is the problem, since laws are interpreted by lawyers and judges. Lawyers have been using that reasoning for over 150 years to justify why contracts corporations enter in are legally binding, why corporations can be sued, why property owned by an organization has protection from government intrusion, and a host of other issues that need to be considered. Simply removing corporate personhood is a terrible idea, it needs to be REPLACED.

However, the fact remains that corporate personhood is a complex issue that is only slightly related to electoral corruption. Focusing on corporate personhood and not even addressing the silly “money is speech” crap that in no way benefits citizens is the wrong way to go about getting money out of politics.

Complaining about how lawyers view things and wishing that the world worked differently is fine up to a point, but now that states are pushing forward it’s time to address reality and propose a version that would actually get money out of politics.

Wolf-PACs suggested amendment paves the way for corrupt politicians to drop the campaign reform section and just push an end to corporate personhood, which wouldn’t get money out of politics or help citizens, but would convince far too many people that the problem was solved.
commented on 28th Amendment 2014-05-06 16:28:33 -0400 · Flag
Who but a lawyer would attempt to rationalize a simple legal contract (i.e; corporate charter) in anthropomorphic terms rather than create a new class of legal entity and define that entity in terms of an artificial legal construct. Making analogies between humans and legal abstracts is guaranteed to totally cloud men’s minds with legal psychobabble; so, of course it’s going to evolve into the highly nuanced , subtle and arcane line of BS that you can spend hour after exorbitant hour debating with each other. What I’m saying is: instead of trying to compare individual peoples’ rights and responsibilities with organizations’ rights and responsibilities we create a separate class of legal entity that can sue and be sued, enter into contracts, etc. but that have no other human attributes to confuse those keen legal minds into thinking they have other constitutional rights like humans. The definition of “corporation” really needs to go beyond " a legal abstraction created by the various States" to define what all it actually comprises. Would you define human beings as “featherless bipeds”? Let’s get beyond describing what a corporation is NOT; We know what they aren’t; they’re not human.
commented on 28th Amendment 2014-05-06 14:39:42 -0400 · Flag
@william Falberg
It’s funny, here I am explaining how corporate personhood is more complex and nuanced than you and TYT treat it, and you are accusing ME of black and white thinking. Check the mirror, I’m talking about shades of gray and all you can see is black.

You aren’t making the basic effort to even read what I have written. You’ve simply decided that because I recognize that corporate personhood is a complex issue, you know everything else about my views, and are responding to what you think I am saying rather than what I actually said.

I am advocating for more regulation on corporations than you are. Removing corporate personhood without understanding all the regulations and laws that depend on it is dangerous, and the version proposed above points towards in the wrong direction. We should be focusing on election reform and ending the terrible “money is speech” bullshit.

Keep on believing that you are right and ignore all evidence and facts to the contrary. God forbid you learn facts or change your views on something. I guess your willful ignorance is more important to you than actually reigning in corporations.
commented on 28th Amendment 2014-05-06 11:04:51 -0400 · Flag
@dan:Who are you trying to BS? Any attempt at regulation is already toothless. I think what you’re trying to say is that less is more and good is evil. I’ll further add that black is white and faster is slower just to show I understand your philosophical viewpoint. Wink-wink.
commented on 28th Amendment 2014-05-06 07:03:41 -0400 · Flag
@william Falberg: no, actually by removing corporate personhood you are helping corporations get away with illegal actions and making nearly all regulations toothless. Without the legal fiction of corporate personhood, corporations cannot be sued. If you think such an arrangement is in the interest of the public you are insane.

I suggest you actually research the reasons why we have the corporate personhood in the first place. Corporate personhood is a complex issue with only a minor connection to voting rights and election corruption. It should not be the focus of any proposed amendment. Plus, the syntax of their version doesn’t match the syntax of constitutional amendments, and having a hard dollar-level limit will never be included in a final version as adjusting it in the future would require a 2/3rds majority.

While clearly any final version will be altered, include language that would disempower citizens and leaving the entire wording and limits such that it will be changed by corrupt politicians elected under the current system is dangerous. I would much rather a more solid and voting-focus proposal be endorsed, such as:

“Voting being the foundation of democracy, the right of citizens to vote shall not be infringed upon for any reason. To ensure fair and free elections, all elections must be publicly financed, with contributions from any person or entity limited to 1% of national median income for the previous year.

In recognition of the fact that money is currency not speech and while corporations, unions, and nonprofits have the same obligations as citizens they do not necessarily have the same rights as citizens, such entities are not allowed to give money to any political campaign nor can they fund ads endorsing or attacking any politician."

While the individual limit would be higher (1% is about $520 right now) having a set limit that increases the more the wealth gap closes would serve to encourage politicians to increase the median wage, while providing a limit that will adjust for inflation automatically rather than require editing the constitution every time would also be beneficial.

In addition, this version would provide a constitutional guarantee of the right to vote, ending voting suppression efforts. It would also provide a more comprehensive ban on political influence from third-party organizations while preserving corporate liability. Currently, while ads running in favor of politicians are banned ads attacking politicians were allowed, which in a two party system floods the airwaves with attack ads that end up directly endorsing one candidate.

Regardless of how you feel about corporate personhood, we should be pushing for voting rights and election reform, NOT focusing on such a complex and thorny issue.
@WolfPacTX retweeted @WolfPAChq 2014-05-05 13:19:05 -0400
Prof Larry Lessig, is going to take down corrupt members of Congress. Spread the word:
followed What happened? 2014-05-05 12:35:20 -0400
commented on 28th Amendment 2014-05-05 10:24:59 -0400 · Flag
@dan: Take your time Dan, think it through. You’ll find a deterrent somewhere in there; eventually. Meanwhile, the rest of us are trying to hold corporate managers responsible for illegal actions in behalf of their legal abstraction. I can’t believe there’s another Romney in the world.
commented on 28th Amendment 2014-05-03 18:45:54 -0400 · Flag
@william falberg that is exactly the current system allowed with corporate personhood. The company as a whole is fined for crimes the company commits, affecting every employee, stockholder, and subcontractor. Removing corporate personhood without creating a new way to hold companies liable for breaking the law would undermine every regulation that exists today.
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