Steve G.

Posts Tagged ‘economy’

The Corporate ‘Person’

In Constitutional Rights, Corruption, Courts and Justice System, Democracy, Economics, History, Law, Libertarian, Libertarian Politics, Politics, Protest, US Government on May 11, 2009 at 6:51 pm

Nowhere are corporations mentioned in The Constitution of the United States of America.  The Constitution was 32 years old before the Supreme Court even dealt with its first case regarding a private, for-profit corporation (Dartmouth College vs. Woodward, 1819) under the contracts clause of Article I, Section 10 (“No State shall…  pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts.”).  It was the conservatively activist court of the period following the War Between the States which changed the landscape of corporate law in the United States with a dictum by Chief Justice Morrison Waite in his opinion on Santa Clara County vs. Southern Pacific Railroad (1886) stating that corporations were ‘persons’ as meant by the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment (…  nor shall any State deprive any ‘person’ of life liberty, or property without due process of law; nor deny to any ‘person’ within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.)

 

Between 1890 and 1937, VERY activist courts that were VERY conservative and pro-business weakened the ability of employees, customers, state legislatures and labor unions to challenge the power of corporations in the United States.  Even under more liberal courts, corporations have been given additional rights of ‘persons’, such as with 1978’s National Bank vs. Bellotti decision which protected corporate ‘political speech’ under the 1st Amendment.  In all ways, corporations in the United States are legal ‘persons’ under The Constitution which means that, in The United States, certain stacks of signed documents are the same as, and have the same rights under the law as any living, breathing flesh and blood ‘person’ does.  Isn’t it time to challenge the legal and logical fallacies of this position?

 

A human ‘person’ is born.  You can say that a corporation is born, also, but a corporation does not go through a childhood or minority in which it is raised and educated before it is given rights and powers of equal standing with an adult.  There is no consideration of childhood for a corporation and yet for a human person, the importance of childhood cannot be minimized.  Children can be required to attend school and be subjected to curfews that do not apply to adults.  Children are restricted in purchasing or using things with which they might harm themselves or others through restrictions which do not apply to adults (alcohol, tobacco, guns, etc.).  Children cannot legally gamble or enter into contracts.  Children can be restricted from accessing information which other adults can freely access (pornography and restricted movies are two examples of this).  Children cannot vote and their rights of assembly can be limited.  Children cannot work or earn their own money except as specifically provided for by law.  Childhood places very real restrictions and limitations on human ‘persons’ before they are given all of the rights and privileges of an adult.  In addition, under The Constitution, there are even further restrictions on age…  no ‘person’ can be elected to a Constitutional office until they have the achieved the age of 25, 30 or 35 (depending on the particular office).  Corporations have no equal burdens placed upon them; rather they enter the world as full adults, like Venus rising out of the sea in a shell or Athena springing from the head of Zeus.

 

A human ‘person’ is responsible for their own actions.  A human ‘person’ who breaks a law and is brought before a court to answer to justice will be the one who pays a fine or goes to jail.  Felons also have restrictions placed upon them for the rest of their lives.  A corporate ‘person’ cannot be jailed.  A corporate ‘person’ can also just make changes in their management or their Board of Directors and make a claim for leniency or exception which a human ‘person’ who is sane cannot make…  It wasn’t us, it was others, and they aren’t here now”.  Such a claim made by a human ‘person’ would be considered proof of very real and very serious mental illnesses.  While individuals who work for a corporation can be held accountable for some of their actions (keep in mind, the purpose of incorporation is to shield individuals from personal liability or accountability to the public), a corporation itself cannot be imprisoned.  Further, while a corporation might be fined or otherwise punished by a court, the people who made decisions can go elsewhere and continue as they have.  Like a coach of a team which is sanctioned by the NCAA, if the coach can just get a job elsewhere, the sanctions don’t follow him.  Corporations can further shield themselves by creating other corporations which they own and control but which protect the greater corporation from financial or legal liability.

 

A human ‘person’ has duties to perform in their society.  A human ‘person’ can be called to serve on a jury as provided for in The Constitution.  A human ‘person’ can enlist in, or even be conscripted into a military service and sent to die for their country.  A human ‘person’ can run for political office to help fulfill the needs of leadership of their governments at all levels.  No corporate ‘person’ is capable of fulfilling the obligations or duty of service to their country of an individual.

 

A human ‘person’ dies.  How long can a human ‘person’ be part of the workforce?  How long can they provide for themselves and make their own decisions?  How long can a human ‘person’ keep death at bay?  While a corporation might go belly up, or be bought or just end by a decision of those at the top, a corporation, a corporate ‘person’, has no natural lifespan and can, in principle, go on living forever…  maybe a restructuring here and there or a name change but, none-the-less, the same legal ‘person’.

 

The logical case against considering corporations to be ‘persons’ could fill a book, however, there is also a legal flaw which should be addressed within the Constitutional framework of accepting corporations as ‘persons’…  a ‘person’ can’t be owned in the United States.

 

The idea of corporations as ‘persons’ was ‘found’ by the Court in the 14th Amendment.  If the 14th Amendment makes them ‘persons’ under The Constitution, doesn’t the 13th Amendment also apply to them?  (“Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”)  Now, go to any dictionary you can find and look up, in order, slavery and slave.  I’ll wait.

 

No ‘person’ can own another ‘person’ in the United States.  Therefore, if a corporation IS a legal ‘person’ under the protection and jurisdiction of The Constitution, doesn’t that mean that they can’t be owned, and that they cannot own other ‘persons’ (i.e.  — other corporations).  If The Constitution applies to the Corporate ‘person’, doesn’t that mean that the WHOLE Constitution applies to them?

 

Rhys M.  Blavier

Romayor, Texas

Truth, Justice and Honor…  but, above all Honor

 

© copyright 2008 by Rhys M.  Blavier
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Thank you for reading this article.  Please read my other articles and let me know what you think.  I am writing them not to preach or to hear myself think but to try to create dialogs, debates and discussions on the nature of our government and how we can build upon and improve it based on what we have seen and learned over the course of the 225 years of The American Experiment.

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Citigroup then and now

In Libertarian on February 23, 2009 at 11:09 am

I find it odd that today’s headlines include information on the nationalization of Citigroup. Here’s an excerpt from the linked article:

If the government took a large common equity stake, even if it lacked voting control, the move could be the equivalent of a nationalization. Citigroup shares fell below $2 on Friday as investors feared that soaring losses would result in nationalization, wiping out shareholder equity.

Taxpayers could end up owning as much as 40 percent of New York-based Citigroup’s common stock, though executives at the third-largest U.S. bank by assets hope to limit the stake to about 25 percent, The Wall Street Journal said on Monday, citing people familiar with the situation.

You might ask why I think it odd; after all, this nationalization thing must be sounding pretty ‘normal’ by now. I find it odd because Citigroup knows this won’t work.

I blogged in November about an internal Citigroup message that said:

The bank said the damage caused by the financial excesses of the last quarter century was forcing the world’s authorities to take steps that had never been tried before.
This gamble was likely to end in one of two extreme ways: with either a resurgence of inflation; or a downward spiral into depression, civil disorder, and possibly wars. Both outcomes will cause a rush for gold.
“They are throwing the kitchen sink at this,” said Tom Fitzpatrick, the bank’s chief technical strategist.
“The world is not going back to normal after the magnitude of what they have done. When the dust settles this will either work, and the money they have pushed into the system will feed though into an inflation shock.

I guess that with trillions of dollars being spread around Citigroup couldn’t resist getting in on the deal. While Citigroup is certainly wrong for taking this money while knowing the outcome will be failure, I’d like to know when the public is going to wake up to the realization that the government is spending like a drunken, daddy’s credit card bankrolled frat boy in a topless bar.

Cato Institute advertisement

In Libertarian on January 29, 2009 at 10:14 am

StimulusAd_NYTimes

Thank you to all the Nay voters in Washington- particularly my representative, Louie Gohmert of TX CD 1.

Ad via Bureau Crash.

I Want My Bailout Money

In Libertarian on January 10, 2009 at 12:09 am

Hat tip/disinter

War, oil, economic chaos, enriched uranium, and more war

In Activism, Economics, Iraq War, Libertarian, Protest, War on November 10, 2008 at 5:28 pm

Donate to Antiwar.com
Today at 2:57pm

Thoughts on What’s Coming

Dear Friend of Peace,

My name is Michael Seebeck. I’m a happily married father of two, dedicated peacemonger and libertarian activist. My wife and I are the Legislative Analysts for the Libertarian Party of California. We recommend courses of action for lobbying, a role can be referred to informally as ”Team Seebeck, Bill Monkeys.”

Part of that role also means being able to connect events and courses of action to determine the consequences of legislation on the public. It also carries over into how I view the news, and lately I really don’t like what I see:

Economic Chaos. Potential War with Iran. Energy Prices. Recession. Russia. Pakistan. Iraq.

What do these all have in common? A pretty grim picture.

Let’s examine the links between these things. You may want a scorecard for this.

Consider the following facts:

Oil had peaked at $147 (7-11-08), and now is at $61 (as of 11-10-08). That’s a 51% drop in three months, and the drop had no end in sight.

World stock markets have tanked in the past four weeks, with trillions of equity and investments being lost.

Iceland faced default on its national debt. (Iceland???)

Iran is still enriching uranium, and the West still claims they are working towards a nuclear bomb. IAEA says otherwise.

Israel is bleating the war drums loudly.

The now multi-trillion-dollar bailout did nothing to help the market or the consumer.

Russia is on the rise from being flush with petroleum money and is revamping their army, navy, air force, and infrastructure.

The Pakistani people are getting agitated against U.S. efforts to track down and kill al-Qaeda in Waziristan.

Iraq is supposedly winding down, but troops aren’t coming home yet.

Afghanistan is heating up, and there is little chance of improvement there.

Unemployment and foreclosures are still on the rise in the U.S. as the recession continues and takes its deepest dive yet.

What does this all mean?

In a word, war.

Yikes!

What can we do?

We must be an organized and concerted effort to pressure our leaders to exercise proper leadership, not to just beat the drums of war because of campaign dollars or market profits for cronies, but instead to work with the world to forge peace as a means to develop prosperity, to turn around the negative attitudes and get nations to work on peaceful mutual interests and trade without foreign entanglements.

That effort starts with the grassroots of the world, from the bottom up, to get the leaders, elected or not, to do the right thing, not only for their own people, but for all people.

It starts with US: We, the people, who opposed war with Iran by a 4-1 margin a year ago and by an even more resounding 93% in June.

Antiwar.com is leading the charge to educate and inform the public, to get our leaders to actually lead, to wage peace and work for a better tomorrow.

With your donation, they can continue this fight, and help us avoid the economic and political destruction of America, and possibly the world.

For more information on how you can help, please contact Development Director Angela Keaton at akeaton@antiwar.com or 323-512-7095.

Won’t you join me in donating to help promote peace? It’s for our future.

Sincerely,

Michael Seebeck

 

 
Angela Keaton
Development Director
Producer, Antiwar Radio
Antiwar.com
Office: 323-512-7095
8am-6pm (Pacific)
323-512-7095
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George Phillies: Barr promoting Libertarian Socialism?

In Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Libertarian Politics, Media, Politics, Presidential Candidates, Socialism on August 3, 2008 at 1:00 pm

The following was written by George Phillies, and is reproduced with permission of the author.

Bob Barr Press Release writes about his opponents

So, please, tell us something we don’t know! The bigger fact is that NEITHER campaign is talking about the important issues that affect the lives of Americans. Neither has a real plan that would result in lower energy costs. Neither is going to do anything about $4 a gallon gasoline, the inflation that looms ahead as well as the overall weakening of our economy….

in other words

The President should do something about prices! The President should carry out economic planning!

As afar as I can see, this is a call for socialism.

I’m sorry, but when did Libertarian Socialism become a new wing of our party?

Tom Knapp Attacks The Fair Tax

In Congress, Economics, Republican, Taxation on March 29, 2008 at 7:08 pm

Tom Knapp (L) is running for United States House in Missouri’s 2nd district and he has already started to go after his Republican opponent, Todd Akin, for co-sponsoring Fair Tax legislation.

The following are concerns Tom Knapp has mentioned about the Fair Tax:

First and foremost, understand this: The “Fair Tax” is not a tax cut. Its proponents claim that it is “revenue neutral,” i.e. that Americans would pay just as much in taxes through the “Fair Tax” as they did through the taxes it replaced.

Secondly, the “Fair Tax” would put America on the dole. Every man, woman and child in the United States would receive a monthly check from the government. In theory, that check would represent an advance rebate (proponents call it a “prebate”) of part of the tax. In fact, eligibility for the check would be completely unconnected to actual payment of the tax.

Thirdly, while proponents claim that the “Fair Tax” would “eliminate the IRS,” exactly the opposite is true. A federal tax bureaucracy would still be required to administer the “prebate” program, and to police interstate tax fraud and “prebate” fraud … and fifty more bureaucracies would have to be created to assess and collect the tax at the state level.

Fourthly, proponents of the “Fair Tax” are deceptive in describing how large it would be. They characterize it as a 23% sales tax, when in fact it is a 30% tax.

He then goes on to give this opinion of what the Fair Tax could do to the American economy:

Finally, there’s a good chance that the “Fair Tax” would wreck the American economy in transition. The tax is assessed on new, but not used, goods. Care to guess what will happen to our nation’s automotive and homebuilding industries when the price of new cars and homes jumps by 30% and the price of used cars and homes doesn’t? Time and supply/demand will eventually bring the prices of used goods back into proportion with those of new goods … but until we get there, whole sectors of the economy will be, at best, on life support.

Click here to read Tom Knapp’s full post on the Fair Tax

Like Tom, I have many concerns about the Fair Tax. One concern is that those who have saved and invested their money are going to be taxed twice under a consumption tax. For example, if I have a Roth IRA I have already paid taxes on that money. When I spend the money I would once again have to pay taxes on that same money. In my opinion, we would greatly punish people who are being financially responsible.

While I would love to eliminate the IRS, I don’t think it is possible in the short term. I would prefer to cut spending, slowly cut taxes while at the same time paying down the national debt. The reason we cannot quickly cut taxes is that we have to cut spending first which is something the Bush administration failed to understand. The Bush administration and the Republican controlled Congress cut taxes, but refused to simultaneously cut spending and because of that we now have a huge deficit. Of course, many think a large surplus would be good, but that would result in less money going back into the economy which would not be good. When there is less money for the American people to spend there is less money to be invested in things such as new businesses which create employment. Instead, I prefer a small surplus each year to pay down the national debt. Until we cut spending and significantly lower taxes and the national debt I see no reason to give politicians any additional methods of collecting money.

Gravel announces Libertarian presidential run

In Congress, Global Warming, Guantanamo, Health, Iran, Libertarian Party-US, Politics, Presidential Candidates, Science, Taxation, Torture, US Government, Veterans, War on March 26, 2008 at 4:59 pm

Mike Gravel

A Personal Message from Mike

I wanted to update you on my latest plans before news gets out. Today, I am announcing my plan to join the Libertarian Party, because the Democratic Party no longer represents my vision for our great country. I wanted my supporters to get this news first, because you have been the ones who have kept my campaign alive since I first declared my candidacy on April 17, 2006.

The fact is, the Democratic Party today is no longer the party of FDR. It is a party that continues to sustain war, the military-industrial complex and imperialism — all of which I find anathema to my views.

By and large, I have been repeatedly marginalized in both national debates and in media exposure by the Democratic leadership, which works in tandem with the corporate interests that control what we read and hear in the media.

I look forward to advancing my presidential candidacy within the Libertarian Party, which is considerably closer to my values, my foreign policy views and my domestic views.

Please take a moment to make your most generous donation to my presidential campaign today. $10, $20, $50 — whatever you feel you can afford.

I want to thank you all for your continued support.

_______________________________

So, what are Gravel’s views on the issues? Here are some issue statements from his website:

The War in Iraq Senator Gravel’s position on Iraq remains clear and consistent: to commence an immediate and orderly withdrawal of all U.S. troops that will have them home within 120 days. The sooner U.S. troops are withdrawn, the sooner we can pursue aggressive diplomacy to bring an end to the civil war that currently consumes Iraq. Senator Gravel seeks to work with neighboring countries to lead a collective effort to bring peace to Iraq.

One of the leading opponents of the Vietnam War, Senator Gravel was one of the first current or former elected officials to publicly oppose the planned invasion of Iraq in 2002. He appeared on MSNBC prior to the invasion insisting that intelligence showed that there were indeed no weapons of mass destruction, that Iraq posed no threat to the United States and that invading Iraq was against America’s national interests and would result in a disaster of epic proportions for both the United States and the Iraqi people.

Today, more than four years into the invasion, the death toll of U.S. troops has climbed over 3,300 with over 50,000 more permanently maimed, some having lost limbs, others their sight. Tens of thousands more are afflicted with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and urgently need psychological care. The Iraqi civilian death toll nears three-quarters of a million, and still there remains no end in sight to the bloodshed.

As President, Senator Gravel will call for a U.S. corporate withdrawal from Iraq and hand over reconstruction contracts to Iraqi businesses which will empower Iraqi nationals to reconstruct their own country.

The National Initiative for Democracy Mike fully supports the National Initiative for Democracy. The NI4D is a way to bring legislative power back to the people. In many states, citizens can put measures on the ballot and Mike believes as citizens of the United States we should all have that power.

Iran and Syria Senator Gravel opposes a military confrontation with Iran and Syria and advocates a diplomatic solution to the current situation.

Global Warming/Climate Change Senator Gravel believes that global climate change is a matter of national security and survivability of the plant. As President, he will act swiftly to reduce America’s carbon footprint in the world by initiating legislation to tax carbon at the source and cap carbon emissions. he is also committed to leading the fight against global deforestation, which today is second only to the energy sector as a source of greenhouse gases. However, any legislation will have little impact on the global environment if we do not work together with other global polluters. China, India, and under-developed nations all work together fighting climate change can only be effective if it is a collective global effort. As President, Senator Gravel will see that the U.S. launches and leads a massive global scientific effort, integrating the world’s scientific and engineering community, to end energy dependence on oil and integrate the world scientific community in this task.

Progressive Taxes – A fair Tax Senator Gravel’s Progressive Fair Tax proposal calls for eliminating the IRS and the income tax and replacing it with a national sales tax on new products and services. To compensate for the tax on necessities, such as food, lodging, transportation and clothing, there would be a “rebate” to reimburse taxpayers. This would be paid in a monthly check from the government to all citizens. The focus on taxing new goods would also help tackle the global climate change problem.

Healthcare Senator Gravel advocates a universal healthcare system that provides equal medical services to all citizens, paid for by a retail sales tax (a portion of the Progressive Fair tax). Citizens would pay nothing for health benefits.

Reproductive Rights Senator Mike Gravel supports a woman’s right to decide if and when to have children. He also supports a woman’s right to make the difficult decision about abortion without interference by government authorities. Comprehensive, age-appropriate sex education, including accurate information about contraception, can always be provided in order to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and abortions. Parity in health insurance and access to specialized family health care services, including family planning education, would also benefit the health and welfare of infants and children, who need and deserve to be wanted and loved.

Immigration Senator Gravel favors protecting our borders and monitoring the flow of immigrants into our country. He also favors a guest worker program and setting up naturalization procedures that would fairly bring immigrants into legal status. America must address the root cause of illegal immigration. Any discussion of immigration must include NAFTA and the concept of “free trade.” The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has been a disaster for the working class of both the U.S. and Mexico and a boon to the international corporate interests. A study by the Economic Policy Institute found that over 1 million U.S. jobs were lost as a result of NAFTA, a third of them manufacturing jobs. In Mexico, 1.3 million farm workers lost their jobs in the same period. This has led to a wave of immigrants looking for work in the U.S. Reforming unfair trade policies spawned by measures like NAFTA will stimulate job growth on both sides of the border.

LGBT Rights Senator Gravel supports same-sex marriage and opposes the Defense of Marriage Act. He supports expanding hate-crime legislation and opposes laws that allow discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or one’s gender identity or expression. Senator Gravel strongly opposes the military’s “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” legislation on the grounds that it is unconstitutional, as it restricts the rights of gay Americans. He opposes any state or national constitutional amendment that restricts the rights of the gay community.

Social Security Senator Gravel wants to put real money, rather than borrowed money, in the Social Security Trust Fund. He advocates investing it properly and identifying the interests of individual beneficiaries so they can know what their retirement fund is and leave surplus funds to heirs.

Education Access to public education is a bedrock American value. Why is it then that the United States ranks 49th in literacy and that an estimated 30% of our students don’t graduate from high school? Investing in education provides a pathway to a thriving national economy, to individual and family economic opportunity, and to the reduction of poverty. A successful education system requires the commitment of families, the community, and government. It’s time to re-order our national budget priorities in order to improve the American education system. Parent education and access to preschool programs such as Head Start need to be expanded so that children from low income families are equally ready to benefit from elementary school. Universal pre-kindergarten would also enhance readiness. Encouraging our students to be the best they can be will require flexibility from the federal and state governments, within school systems, and from groups with a stake in educational success. Flexibility may mean extended school days and summer learning opportunities or extended school years. It may mean online and broadcast courses to provide access to highly qualified teachers. It may mean charter schools to address the needs of local communities, smaller classes, enrichment programs for students at risk, and vocational options. One thing we know for sure: No Child Left Behind has left too many children behind. It needs to be reformed and adequately funded. It needs to acknowledge the need for a fuller curriculum that encourages critical thinking-not just math and science test-taking. A high school diploma should be the minimum goal for all students; without it, our children will be condemned to a substandard economic existence.

Veteran’s Affairs As President, Senator Gravel would ensure that veterans receive full funding for their most important needs, including healthcare that is indexed to the increasing cost of care and medicine. He would make sure that all soldiers receive a full medical diagnosis to assess what their individual needs would be. He would also make sure that the VA system is fully financed and has sufficient well-trained personnel to provide the finest care that is available. As the Senator says, “We can do no less and we will do much more.” Mike Gravel is the only military veteran in the democratic race.

The War on Drugs The War on Drugs has been a failure. It is time to end prohibition and start treating addiction as a public health problem. This has ravaged our inner cities, and we are losing an entire generation of men and women to prisons. We must regulate hard drugs for the purpose of treating addicts, which would emphasize rehabilitation and prevention over incarceration. We must decriminalize minor drug offenses and increase the availability and visibility of substance abuse treatment in our communities as well as in jails and prisons. The United States incarcerates more people and at a higher rate than any other industrialized nation in the world. Some 2.3 million Americans are now behind bars. This tragedy must end.

Net Neutrality Net Neutrality aims to keep the Internet free from large companies, which are trying to limit the number of web sites their customers can view and the speed at which they can view them. Senator Gravel guarantees a free and open Internet with unlimited access to all sites. He will do this by supporting legislation and regulation that keeps you in control of your Internet usage and promotes free speech.

Human Rights Senator Gravel is adamantly opposed to torture, indefinite detention, and the deprivation of lawyers/speedy trials. He opposes the Military Commissions Act, flagrant ignorance of the Geneva convention, and Guantanamo.

Bush clueless about the economy

In Corruption, Crazy Claims, George Bush, Humor, Iraq War, Lies and the lying liars who tell them, Media, Military, Politics, Republican, Terrorism, US Government, War on March 8, 2008 at 10:19 pm

Once again, President Bush proves that he has absolutely no idea about … well, anything. Here, he claims that the economy is not being harmed by the war, and the extraordinary amount of money being spent on the war. Instead, he thinks the war is helping the economy.

Um, yeah. That may be true if you’re one of his fat-cat friends who own companies which supply equipment and necessary (and sometimes unnecessary) items to feed the war machine. Otherwise, it’s not helping you (or me) economically at all.

By the way, since he mentions the rebate, just where exactly where is the government supposed to get the money to do that?  It’s just more debt, and more interest on debt.  It’s just the Republicans trying to look better before the presidential election in November, pure and simple.

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Originally posted on Adventures In Frickintardistan