My Boss Says Vote GOP!

I was reading through articles during my dinner break this evening, just seeing what was out there. After discussing the different views on the parties yesterday, and apparently finding that I have made quite a few folks angry with me for my characterization of Conservatives, I had planned on beginning my promised series this evening. I have postponed it simply because I don’t want it to get bogged down by the back to back article nights. Once the series starts I will not have an article posted the night after a series installment. I want the discussions to continue towards conclusion, which often takes more than a day. So that series will probably be starting Thursday night in leiu of a guest commentary so that it can carry on throughout the weekend. Part 1 is finished so it is merely a matter of strategic posting. But I degress. Tonight I read this article that focused on a further consequnce of the recent Supreme Court Decision that ruled corporations are entitled to free speech protections.

The article that I am referencing was posted to the Huffington Post. The title caught my attention and the lead in was somewhat intriguing. I am not sure that I agree with the conclusions offered, but I figured that first we can discuss whether the conclusions were accurate and then determine whether the proper move is the one that the author decided was necessary.

Michael J. Wilson

For reference, the case in question is Citizens United v Federal Elections Commission, which in its final form focused on the constitutionality of limiting corporations’ independent spending during campaigns for the Presidency and Congress. This is a complex case and a complex ruling. I have read it. The basic gist is that under this ruling, corporations are entitled to free speech protection under the Constitution as if they were a person. The justices did NOT rule that foreign companies operating in America are not covered by this, as the President noted in the SOTU speech (but that was because that was not the question the court was being asked. That is an important note, as the court doesn’t get to randomly make up rules, they only get to rule on the questions before them). Somehow, Michael J. Wilson, the author of the article in question here, found a completely different meaning in the decision of the court.

The court ruled that corporations can use their unmatched wealth to overwhelm other participants in public debate and make elected officials even more indebted to big business than they already are.

But another problem has gone largely unnoticed. Employers can also use their financial power to pressure employees vote the way the company wants. This is already standard practice in union organizing campaigns. Employers hold a “captive audience” meeting which workers are required to attend. At this meeting, the company presents a stew of well-polished anti-union arguments and threatens (subtly or not) to close the company if the workers vote for the union. The union is not allowed to attend and has no comparable ability to tell workers the other side. Management closely monitors who speaks, who asks questions, and who exhibits pro-union sensibilities for later retribution.

This tactic is extremely effective. Even though workers in unionized companies make more money, have better benefits, and are protected from arbitrary termination, in about half of the elections the majority of workers vote against having a union. What makes this even more “impressive” is that before the election is held, in most instances a majority of employees have signed cards expressing a desire for a union. Sadly, the National Labor Relations Act permits this abuse.

This tactic is rarely used by employers on political issues. It’s not because they don’t want to. Employers are much better off when pro-business candidates (usually Republicans) win elections. Getting rank and file workers, a majority of who usually vote Democratic, to change their vote would change the outcome of a great many elections. They wouldn’t have to convince [that] many workers since most elections are decided by a narrow margin of 10% or less. Winning by 51% to 49% is common. With elections so close, it doesn’t take much to change the outcome.

The reason employers haven’t been ramming their political views down workers’ throats is that they weren’t sure it was legal. There isn’t any law against it. But corporate lawyers are extremely risk averse and want to avoid litigation. If they give the green light to action that ends up in court, the company will probably get another lawyer. Better to play it safe. Only rogue employers like Wal-Mart are famous for forcing their political views on workers, but the Citizens United case may change that. The court has announced with trumpets blaring that corporations have free speech rights just like real people and they will nullify any law that restricts corporate advocacy.

Just so we can be clear on what Mr. Wilson is saying. From my perspective, what he is claiming is that corporations, because of this ruling, are now able to force those who work for them to vote for the candidate that the corporation feels is the best candidate for the business. Allow me, before I say anything else at all, to point out that the author is being extremely misleading in linking these two situations. The Supreme Court Ruling dealt with free speech in terms of corporations financing campaign advertising. And there is certainly a link that could be made if we were to discuss corporations donating directly to candidates for office. However, what does this ruling from the Supreme Court have to do with the problem that the author is pining about? Absolutely nothing. The Justice’s ruling dealt with campaign finance, and had nothing at all to do with employers using a heavy hand to force employees to vote for a specific candidate. Before we address the issue, I thought it was important to point that out. It is a dirty tactic of linking something heinous to something unrelated in order to change public opinion around the unrelated thing.

But let’s forget Mr. Wilson’s faulty logic and outright lie as to the relevance of linking the two issues. Let’s instead talk about whether this is an issue in the first place. The article details the way that labor unions have been already victimized by this tactic. There are no examples given, just rhetorical possibilities that the author uses as facts. His claim is that “corporations” have forced “employees” to vote against union formation within the private business sector (despite the absolute joyhood of union membership, which the author is quick to gush about). I am not going to re-hash the argument about whether unions are a good thing or a bad thing or whether they are necessary in today’s environment. I find it interesting that the author ignores the fact that unions hold the exact meetings that he attributes to the corporations. Unions have a history of intimidation, coercion, and political backing for specific candidates. But I digress. I forgot, we are talking about the evil corporations, not the angelic unions.

The author is quick to make the statement, “This tactic is rarely used by employers on political issues. It’s not because they don’t want to.” So right off the bat we are already admitting that this is not a big issue, which is in direct contrast to the doomsday scenario that the author is preaching. So what the author is telling us is that this is a gigantic issue that must be addressed in Congress immediately, while this is really little more than his hypothetical situation of what could occur, which is based on his linking it to a Supreme Court case that had nothing to do with it. Well, I submit that we could very well be undone by D13’s Hybrid Raptor breeding program as well. Based on what I saw in Jurassic Park, chaos theory will take over and they will get loose, terrorizing basketball fans who made fun of the one falling at that game. But I don’t see Liberals screaming for Congressional intervention on that hypothetical issue. The logic is just as sound.

In this way his statement is very much like President Obama’s statement that he made during the state of the union address. Obama claimed made the statement, “With all due deference to separation of powers, last week the Supreme Court reversed a century of law that I believe will open the floodgates for special interests — including foreign corporations — to spend without limit in our elections. I don’t think American elections should be bankrolled by America’s most powerful interests, or worse, by foreign entities. They should be decided by the American people.” In this case the President offered a hypothetical of what could happen, yet presented it as if it were an ominous eventuality that Congress must act immediately to overturn. See a trend here? It is one of the things I was annoyed at Republicans for in yesterday’s article. Automatically jumping to scenarios that haven’t occurred and presenting them as though they are fact, rather than speculation. Then urging that Congress act now.

I will agree that for some companies the reason is “not because they don’t want to.” It is because they CAN’T. In today’s America, a company firing you for political views goes viral in about three hours. Everyone knows that the company is a bunch of dirtbags, and they lose business rather quickly. And given the current climate of corporation hating liberal news networks, it wouldn’t just go viral. There would be an out of focus video taken with a cell phone that shows the offending corporate bigwigs. Chris Matthews and Olbermann would join Jeanine Garofalo and Katie Couric in a boycott of the offending company. And that is completely ignoring the fact that doing so would result in an immediate lawsuit being filed and I would give 3:2 odds that the lawsuit wins and a big settlement ensues, in addition to the MSNBC boycott.

Realistically, folks, the government is so busy taking action to create legislation on things that are happening. Obviously I believe that much of that action is outside of what the government should be doing. But the fact remains that the actions are happening. More legislation has been passed in the current Congress than any other Congress in history (yet those obstructionist Republicans are keeping Congress from getting any work done!). And now that Congress is addressing all of the supposed grievances in America, liberals are beginning to understand that the time has come for Congress to begin addressing possible future grievances, hypothetical actions that could occur, and corporation activities that have yet to materialize. I suggest that they get to work on the Raptor breeding regulations as well. Chaos theory says it is only a matter of time. Life makes a way.

But let’s be serious for a moment here. I have presented why I don’t think that this is an issue that needs to be addressed in the first place (at least as far as Congress is concerned). But what does everyone else think? I understand the reality of the world. I know there are bad companies out there. I think they are the exception rather than the rule. But they exist. But do you really believe that they are going to successfully force employees to vote for the candidate of their choosing? I just don’t see it. If there was one “organization” that could possibly get away with something of that nature, it would be the United States Military. Military commanders could justifiably support a candidate that promises increased funding or better use of the military assets. And they could coerce soldiers to comply, not by threatening to kick them out, but instead threatening NOT to kick them out. Working for a Sergeant that is out to break you is one of the worst places in the world to be. I would rather face the Raptors. Yet this scenario does not play out in that environment. I was NEVER coerced one way or the other in an election. And I never witnessed such. So is this really an issue that we need to be addressing in the United States? In other countries I might understand, but here? With this media and this viral information network?

Now after you answer that, let’s go with the hypothetical situation as Mr. Wilson lays it out. Let’s, for a second, assume that corporations are going to start having the meetings that Wilson portrays. Let’s assume that they are urging employees to vote a certain way (and remember they cannot “force” them because they have no way of knowing who the employee actually votes for)? The first question I have to ask is how is this different than unions coercing members to vote a certain way? Especially in today’s environment where UAW and SEIU bosses have frequent visits to the oval office for tea and krumpets (which are delicious by the way, with butter and jam)? How is this different than ACORN employees taking busses full of homeless to the polls and buying their vote with a sandwich? How is this different than the people standing outside of polling stations with a list of which levers to pull that they hand to folks who don’t know the candidates? How is whatever a corporation could say to influence a potential voter any different than the steady stream of lies that the MSM feeds the public? Because unless you can point out a drastic difference, then I submit Congress must legislate that none of those things can happen either. Otherwise Congress is obligated to do nothing.

After you answer that, let’s go a step further. Suppose that corporations were telling employees that they must vote for a certain candidate or face repercussions. First, how would the corporation know who the employee voted for? Second, suppose that they could know who the employee voted for. Is Congressional legislation the answer to solving this complex non-issue? Because I don’t think that it is. Congressional legislation is completely ineffective at stopping corporations from doing thing that are downright illegal! Congress is impotent in the face of Wall Street. We have seen it first hand. So what makes anyone think that Congress could have any impact on this issue. I submit that the best deterrent is….. public humiliation.

I know, I know, all you free market haters are thinking that this is the dumbest thing that you have ever heard. You feel like the average American is small and weak next to the big machine that is corporate America. Well, you are wrong. The average American was strong enough to stop the health care legislation from forging forward at a rapid rate, and that was going against big government! Surely you don’t think corporations are stronger than government? Perhaps the answer to the problem is an organized information portal that does nothing but provide citizens with a resource for identifying corporations that use the tactic that Wilson fears so much. Make it well known. Make it easily available. Make it accurate. In other words, let the private market do it, not government.

While you may feel this is a futile plan, I submit that an organization would do ANYTHING to not end up on the list of corporations that use this tactic. Because they would immediately alienate one half of the political spectrum as potential customers. Whichever side the organization supported, the other half of American voters would refuse to do business with them. And here is the catch, my guess is that 20% to 30% of the other half of voters would also refuse to do business with that company because they would have an ethical objection to what the company did. What company is willing to lose 60% of the American public as potential customers? A government law can be skirted. And even if it can’t, the penalty is a fine. Money, something the company has plenty of. But customers are a commodity that companies cannot afford to lose.

So as we prepare to move into a series where we take real issues and try to find a way to deal with them, consider this a bit of a trial run. After we determine whether this is an issue that needs to be addressed or not, let’s then assume that it is a gigantic issue that needs to be addressed. Let’s attempt to find some ways to deal with the issue. Congressional legislation is a possible choice. But how else can we rectify this situation?

You can read the entire article from Mr. Wilson here:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-j-wilson/businesses-can-now-legall_b_480028.html

You can also read a summary of the Court Case here:  http://www.scotuswiki.com/index.php?title=Citizens_United_v._Federal_Election_Commission

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Comments

  1. USWeapon says:

    I almost forgot my favorite line in his entire article. Right there at the very end when he concluded with:

    Congress must restore our rights as citizens…

    It shows you how lost he is that he actually believes Congress has any interest in restoring rights of citizens. Congress lives to find ways to interpret the Constitution in order to take rights away from citizens. Citizens have rights, my lost friend, Congress doesn’t have the power to give them. They are natural and you are born with them. All Congress can do is take them away. Something they have been doing for a very long time.

    USW

    • Good Morning All!

      I don’t think this the SCOTUS decision will have much effect on elections at all. Other than Unions, the only for-profit organizations that are major players in elections are, you guessed it, the media. So in a sense, Mr. Wilson is asking Congress to change the Freedom of Press rights that he enjoys today. Alas, liberal journalists, maybe he should get his way, it would go along way to improving the media and what they present. (No, I don’t advocate changing anything in the Bill of Rights). Maybe Mr. Wilson should realize that the MSM are corporations. Big or small, his thinking could very well put him in the unemployment line.

      Have a great day!

      G!

  2. I find it a tad hypocritical for Obama to complain about corporations being able to influence elections with big money when he choose NOT to take public funds (and so be limited by campaign finance reform) because he could outspend McCain by a long shot.

    I don’t know about the whole corp = person argument. I’m not really for or against this ruling. Perhaps after reading some arguments today I may know enough to form an opinion.

  3. PeterB in Indianapolis says:

    My main thing is the rules should be uniform.

    I have seen the argument that corporations are made up of people, and they should be allowed to “represent” the people that make up the corporation. I have also seen the argument that corporations are entities designed to shield people from responsibility, and such entities can not be regarded as people or as representing the people who make up the corporation.

    Either way is fine as long as you are CONSISTENT.

    If a corporation does not have “freedom of speech”, then a union should not either. Neither should the local Lion’s Club.

    Come to think of it, the media is run by huge corporations, so the media (therefore the “press”) shouldn’t have free speech either if corporations do not have free speech rights.

    It is an interesting topic but requires some thought.

    I know BF is of the opinion that corporations cannot have rights because they are not “persons”; so I would ask BF, should the press be given special rights even though the press is made up of corporations, and if so, why?

    • Peter,

      What you write in a newspaper is not a newspaper having rights – it is your right to write.

      The article says “written by Peter”.

      No different then, say, WordPress.

      This is not WordPress making this post – it is USWep.

      However, if General Dynamics presents a post, it isn’t WordPress either – it is General Dynamics.

      I do not support corporations existance whatsoever.

      If you wish to argue that newspaper companies should not be held in corporate structure – that is one argument.

      To claim that people writing their editorials in newspapers owned by corporations is a wholly different argument.

      Are you saying that an editorial content of Lois Lane is different if the Daily Mirror is owned by MegaCorp, instead of Henry J. Morgan?

      • BF

        “Are you saying that an editorial content of Lois Lane is different if the Daily Mirror is owned by MegaCorp, instead of Henry J. Morgan?”

        Yes, that is exactly what happens if the author is part of the editorial board of the paper. Their editorials reflect the collective position of the paper.

        Now does it matter that the paper is private, partnership or corporation? I think NO.

        By the way, General Dynamic wouldn’t post an article. It would be written by someone in the company as representing the company’s position. So despite the corporate status the actual article or editorial is still a single person’s post.

        The issue is about the funding of third party advertisements. Corporations funding issue ads run by another group. The funding is by a company and not an individual. The individuals running the ad will be held to account but those funding the third party are not identified up front.

      • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

        BF,

        The problem which I have is this:

        If an article written by Lois Lane is actually the opinion of Lois Lane, then that is an individual opinion.

        However, if MegaCorp has internal rules which state that all editorials must follow one particular viewpoint, and Lois Lane is merely following those internal rules, then that article cannot be said to be an individual opinion.

        We have seen instances where the NYT or other publications have supposedly had policies where they told reporters, “treat this side of the issue with great respect, and report on the other side of the issue, but use lots of negative terms and hint at derision, or simply outright treat the opposing view with disdain” (this is not intended to be a direct quote of NYT policy, just a summary of what has been found in the past).

        So, in your view, would it be necessary to somehow be able to discern when a member of the press is giving their own opinion vs. when they are merely following internal corporate editorial policy or “guidance”?

        • Jac,

          Yes, that is exactly what happens if the author is part of the editorial board of the paper. Their editorials reflect the collective position of the paper.

          Again – there is a tremendous and key difference between a group of People expressing an opinion and a Corporation

          They are all responsible for their words.

          But in the latter, the writers are immune to the responsiblity.

          This is not Lois Lane saying this; it is an entity in front of Lois Lane.

          If there are consequences to the words of Lois Lane, she does not face them.

          Therefore, we will hear more indiscreet, indiscriminate, indiscretion, unthoughtful, volatile and perverse words – all backed by enormous force of great wealth.

          Now does it matter that the paper is private, partnership or corporation? I think NO.

          It is the key.

          The two former deal consequences directly to those that act.

          The latter does not.

          That changes everything.

          So despite the corporate status the actual article or editorial is still a single person’s post.

          …that uses the corporate status to protect themselves from the consequences of their words.

        • Peter,

          So, in your view, would it be necessary to somehow be able to discern when a member of the press is giving their own opinion vs. when they are merely following internal corporate editorial policy or “guidance”?

          I believe there is no such thing as a corporate voice.

          Legitimizing it by “believing it exists” is so dangerous I cannot express it with enough words.

          • BF

            “I believe there is no such thing as a corporate voice.”

            Then why do you seem so worried about something that does not exist?

            The REALITY my friend is that there is in fact such a thing. You can call it policy or positions or whatever if it makes you feel better. But the company has and will express certain positions on certain matters.

            Those positions or views are developed and approved by the company’s governing bodies, whether boards or executives or some communication guy. Doesn’t matter, it becomes the “company’s viewpoint”.

            And the other reality is that those who are responsible for running companies, including corporations, ARE HELD accountable for the public words issued on behalf of the company.

    • “the media is run by huge corporations”

      ABC refused to run some adds against healthcare during Obama’s special. McCain, Obama, Pelosi, etc all agree on this issue, which means its about their control and keeping the status quo.

  4. I have a question, maybe someone can help me with it. Microsoft, Apple and GE are three humongous Corporations. Unless I miss my guess, they all lean heavily left and contribute accordingly. What is all this crap about big corporations favoring Republicans?

    There was a time during the reign of the robber barons when the Republican tilt probably existed but I suspect never to the extent it was portrayed. Big business was not happy with Teddy Roosevelt nor I suspect with Dwight Eisenhower. What did herbert Hoover do to save them from catastrophy during the depression? One of the few who made loads of money during that depression was papa kennedy. The family is still living off that money today.

    Chrysler, GM and Ben & Jerry’s all are now firmly in the tank for the Democrats. The only business people I know for republicans or Conservatives are those pesky small businessmen and women. The left, traditionally has no use for them because in marxism/leninism, they are all reactionaries, Anybody remember the kulaks fate under stalin?

  5. JAC and I have had this discussion before, so I’m sure we’ll repeat it here. I’ve also addressed my thoughts here in my blog:

    http://freedomfliesblackflag.wordpress.com/2010/02/03/evil-ghosts-have-human-rights/

    The debate was about financing elections.

    The decision – as with all great evil – created a series of future consequences that will destroy human rights.

    The decision wasn’t a “yeah, corporations can fund elections”

    The decisions was “abstractions created in the writ of government are granted rights by government like human rights are granted by government”.

    That is the insidious repercussions of this matter – a confirmation that government can grant human rights by writ.

    The acceptance of this decision – by a failure to understand the implications – is an inescapable cage for humanity.

    Once the People believe government grants rights – the theory of inalienable rights will have its heart cut out.

    • BF

      While we did in fact debate vigorously the effects and efficacy of the decision we did not at the time discuss the “abstract” effect you propose.

      Given the shallow nature of our public political and philosophical discussions today, I AGREE with you regarding the trap laid by this case.

      The trap is baited by these idiotic accusations being made on the far left. By spreading cheap political rhetoric around about “money is speech” and the “court granted corporations human rights” it will plant the idea in the minds of the uninformed.

      The issue of “corporate status” is a long history of complex legal philosophical issues. Not something easily digested by most of the citizenry.

      Following is a description of the “legal entity” or “legal person” concept from WIKI. I thought this might help everyone as we chase this issue around today.

      WIKI: “A legal person (sometimes referred to as a juristic person or a body corporate) is a legal entity through which the law allows a group of natural persons to act as if they were a single composite individual for certain purposes, or in some jurisdictions, for a single person to have a separate legal personality other than their own.[1] This legal fiction does not mean these entities are human beings, but rather means that the law allows them to act as persons for certain limited purposes—most commonly lawsuits, property ownership, and contracts. This concept is separate from and should not be confused with limited liability or the joint stock principle.[2] Also note that basic rights (like the rights to free speech and due process of law) do not necessarily follow from legal personhood. A legal person is sometimes called an artificial person or legal entity (although the latter is sometimes understood to include natural persons as well). Although the concept of a legal person is more central to Western law in both common law and civil law countries, it is also found in virtually every legal system.[3]”

      The legal issue of campaign adds goes to the nature of the concept in which a group of people are “allowed” to act as a single person, in this case for the purposes of funding issue advertisements.

      Part of the dilemma presented by Black Flag here is that so many people use the term “right” to denote what is in reality a “privilege” conveyed by govt. Just as we talk about the “rights of govt” when in fact it is the “authority granted to govt” that is the issue.

      Hope all is well my pirate friend.
      JAC

    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

      BF,

      On this, you and I agree. Only individuals have rights, and said individual rights are unalienable, not granted by fiat by some “government”. The ONLY thing which government does is attempt to limit or take away those unalienable individual rights.

      Because these rights are unalienable, it is the duty of every individual to fight against the attempted limitation, usurpation, or elimination of these rights by a government or any other person or entity.

  6. Bottom Line says:

    Ultimately, it is you the individual privately voting for whomever you see fit.

    Who cares what a corporation or anyone else thinks?

    • Bottom Line,

      Those that control the message control the process.

      As my rant on voting, complaint #2

      “You do not pick the cause or ‘problem'”

      It is the lobbyists who do.

      So you believe you are voting in Bush to take care of the economy, and he uses it for a mandate to start a war.

      • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

        BF,

        You argue above that there is no such thing as a “corporate voice”, yet you argue down here that “those that control the message control the process”. Those two arguments seem, at least on the surface, to be contradictory. Could you clarify?

        • Peter,

          You argue above that there is no such thing as a “corporate voice”, yet you argue down here that “those that control the message control the process”. Those two arguments seem, at least on the surface, to be contradictory. Could you clarify?

          Sure.

          There is no “corporate voice” in the sense that everything ends in the individual.

          Corporations are not real. They are abstractions. They do not have a voice since they are a dream – a ghost.

          The message comes from a real person, somewhere.

          Where they “control the message” is by the presentation of that abstraction, real people can hide and be immune to the responsibility of their action.

          A Corporation – by its structure – allows a large group of people to act without responsibility on any one of that party.

          In Human Action, an action that has its negative consequences mitigated will be exercised at a far higher level than if consequences were dealt directly.

          Thus, corporations “controlling the message” is such a consequence. There will be an increased attempt to pervert situations where the negative consequences of such an attempt do not exist.

          • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

            BF,

            Thanks,

            That did clarify quite a bit.

            So, by creating a corporation and attempting to imbue it with “human” rights, the government has created a situation where the individual controlling the message can hide behind the corporation and/or use the corporation to control the message, while escaping the personal consequences.

            Do I have that basically right?

            • Peter,

              Yes, that is my argument and belief.

              • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

                I understand now 🙂

                I was inclined to disagree with what you were saying (at least in part) at first, until we had that little discussion.

                Now, as it turns out, we actually agree, I just wasn’t using the same definitions as you were intially.

  7. USW

    I think we would find there are more than enough laws on the books to address the issue raised by the author.

    Quite frankly I don’t know what he or the other fasciolists are screaming for. I suspect the entire issue will be handled through new “federal regulations” in the appropriate agencies. Some will probably involve the IRS rules.

    That is how these folks tried to undo business’ ability to organize and lobby during the Clinton years. They changed the tax rules for “trade associations” so that they couldn’t be involved in political issues and maintain not for profit status. Of course that effort was aimed at companies but left the Sierra Club, Wilderness Society, etc alone. Our “unbiased” and “fair” govt at its best.

    I think alot of the screaming over this is really about keeping the far left base stirred up for the coming elections. Most legal folks I know have always thought the restrictions on issue ads would be found unconstitutional. That includes some of the “living document” crowd.

    Best to you and yours. Looking forward to your series on issues.
    JAC

  8. While we did in fact debate vigorously the effects and efficacy of the decision we did not at the time discuss the “abstract” effect you propose.

    I believe we did.

    It is the core of the problem – the belief that abstractions can be granted rights by government.

    We discussed how corporations were created as legal persons, having human rights, and designed for a purpose.

    We discussed the purpose of such a creation was to deflect responsibility away from real persons.

    The implications are multi-tentacled.

    The legal issue of campaign adds goes to the nature of the concept in which a group of people are “allowed” to act as a single person, in this case for the purposes of funding issue advertisements.

    However, this was not the question.

    The question was whether CORPORATIONS could obtain HUMAN right of free speech.

    There is so much wrong in this matter – and all of it because of the congruence of evil of artificial persons.

    This is not a question of whether a group of people can organize themselves – as recognized in law. People organizing themselves to be represented as a single entity does not enable such a group to avoid responsibility. In fact, it increases it. A poor decision of one now effects many – and many now carry the consequence. As this lowers the risk of those that deal with such an organization.

    But that is not what a CORPORATION offers. In fact, exactly opposite. It lowers the risk of the organization to the whole and increased risk of those that deal with it.

    This is a CORPORATION – as defined by the government and granted rights by government.

    It is an error to make the PURPOSE of the corporation as defining its access to HUMAN RIGHTS.

    Citizens United is such a CORPORATION. It is a 501(c)(4) group – specifically created under law for political activism.

    It sits under a charity –tax exempt- for the purposes of ‘public welfare’.

    But it does no charity work.

    Real charities are very limited in lobbying.

    So, Group (4) was created for the sole purpose of lobbying governments – tax free.

    It matters not that this group happens to support limited government, basic freedom, and many of the basic libertarian ideas.

    In fact, this makes it the most dangerous of them all.

    It has been able to gather support of the limited government believers to rally for government intervention to force this through the courts.

    This issue has gathered those that wish to limit government and used their energy to undermine –strategically- their entire philosophy.

    It was a brilliant maneuver by the Statists. Get the ‘inalienable rights’ people to consecrate a ‘government right’!

    This is a perfect example of how government infects all with its evil.

    It does so by preying on those that wish to limit or remove government into contradicting their very position by offering a route in using government as a tool to act upon their wish.

    In one broad stroke, the forces of Statism got its enemies to confound themselves.

    The Ring of Power always binds and enslaves those that use the Ring. It is utterly foolish to believe that using it against itself would work.

    With this decision now any and all lobbyists – including the most powerful who wish to seize government force for their evil ends – have free and unfettered access to those most willing to be sell such violence.

    Mark my words.

    This ruling will destroy the very essence and goal of the organization that forced such a ruling.

    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

      Excellent point!

    • BF

      “So, Group (4) was created for the sole purpose of lobbying governments – tax free.”

      This section was actually created to place limits on such activity, thus reducing the amount of “tax free” expenditures compared to the previous tax laws. At least that was my understanding at the time. Prior to these rules companies could deduct all expenses to “trade groups” or “advertisements”. The trade groups were completely Tax Exempt.

      This group created a tax liability for lobbying or campaigning expenditures over a certain limit.

      “It sits under a charity –tax exempt- for the purposes of ‘public welfare’. ” Your statement here is grossly misleading if not outright false. The tax exempt status has NOTHING to do with Charity. The law defines “public welfare” in broad terms but included activities that are NOT charity.

      • JAC,

        501(c)(4) exemptions are given to civic leagues and other corporations operated exclusively for the promotion of social welfare, or local associations of employees the membership of which is limited to a designated company or persons in a particular municipality or neighborhood and the net earnings of which are devoted exclusively to charitable, educational, or recreational purposes.[19] Characteristics that set these organizations apart from 501(c)(3) organizations include an unlimited ability to lobby for legislation and the ability to participate in political campaigns and elections.

        Section 501(c)(3) organizations are subject to limits or absolute prohibitions on engaging in political activities.

        • BF:

          Your on a side track.

          The Tax exempt status of the organization has nothing to do with the issue.

          You tried to criticize based on claiming this group was tax exempt under provisions for charity. I simply pointed out that is FALSE.

          If you check out the rest of Section 501 you will find the dollar limitations for C4 organizations and other exempt organizations.

          My point was that previously there were not special groups. The tax exempt groups that allow political activities was created in order to separate them from othere so as to forumulate separate regulations. Which Clinton/Dems did by limiting the expenditures. Thus forcing creation of PACS but eliminating corporate contributions through the 4C group or the PAC.

          Also, all restrictions or requirements regarding disclosure of donors and producers of media is still in place. This is not the disaster you want to portray it as. It is nothing more than a return to the way it was before around 1990, only with better disclosure rules.

          It was a victory for free speech.

          There are much bigger fish to fry my friend.

  9. USWeapon,

    Just so we can be clear on what Mr. Wilson is saying. From my perspective, what he is claiming is that corporations, because of this ruling, are now able to force those who work for them to vote for the candidate that the corporation feels is the best candidate for the business.

    Now you’re using emotional theatrics to miss-state the issue. He is not saying they are now able too, he’s saying this ruling might give corporations the confidence to expand their influence to candidates and then to employees. The two are absolutely related.

    “This tactic is rarely used by employers on political issues. It’s not because they don’t want to.” So right off the bat we are already admitting that this is not a big issue…

    It’s currently not an issue because corporations are afraid of lawsuits. This ruling reduces that risk. Did you read the article you’re quoting from?

    “With all due deference to separation of powers, last week the Supreme Court reversed a century of law that I believe will open the floodgates for special interests — including foreign corporations — to spend without limit in our elections…

    Again, did you read this statement? Did you notice the words “that I believe will”? He’s stating an opinion. I’d think you of all people would understand someone having an opinion

    In today’s America, a company firing you for political views goes viral in about three hours.

    It’s not about being fired. It’s about missed promotions and raises or making someone’s life at work miserable so they quit on their own…

    addressing possible future grievances, hypothetical actions that could occur

    Oh yes, heaven forbid that we have elected officials with enough intellect to see a problem coming and try to stop it. Let’s just stick our head in the sand and ignore it. Are you serious??

    I know there are bad companies out there. I think they are the exception rather than the rule.

    I agree, but it doesn’t take much to swing elections, especially if this starts at the local level where a relatively small amount of cash can have a big impact, and then works its way up.

    If there was one “organization” that could possibly get away with something of that nature, it would be the United States Military.

    I don’t think the Military / Corporation comparison is valid. Very different environments, cultures, structures, etc.

    How is whatever a corporation could say to influence a potential voter any different…

    A corporation is different because it has a captive audience for 8+ hours a day. It can put up subtle signs around the work place, force you to go to meetings, make you feel like the future of the company – and therefore your job – depends on you voting how they want.

    Remember the transcript from the AutoZone meeting someone posted a few months ago? Do you think those employees felt threatened or pressured?

    Suppose that corporations were telling employees that they must vote for a certain candidate or face repercussions.

    Again, you’re using emotional theatrics to miss-state the issue. Corporations can’t force voters to vote a certain way, but they can influence them. Have you ever heard of advertising and marketing? Corporations have already figured out how to illicit emotional responses, tug at the heart strings, sway opinions, etc. Corporations spend billions of dollars on advertising because it has an impact. Do you want even more of that corporate expertise and funding in elections?

    Perhaps the answer to the problem is an organized information portal that does nothing but provide citizens with a resource for identifying corporations that use the tactic that Wilson fears so much. Make it well known. Make it easily available. Make it accurate. In other words, let the private market do it, not government.

    Sounds great, and I don’t mean to be negative, but a few things:
    1. This does happen today, and has limited impact. The group calling for the “boycott” is attacked as politically motivated, blah, blah, blah…
    2. Who determines who is listed? Who determines what is accurate? Who is the “impartial” judge we all can agree on?
    3. Much of this will be subtle, behind the scenes “advertising”. Very hard to pin down…

    Just a few days ago someone here was talking about having to stop things before they get started, because it’s hard to undo…but now you’re saying we should just let this happen and if it gets out of control and corporations gain too much influence, then we can create websites to monitor this? Or then have Congress (which was bought and paid for by corporate money) pass a law to limit corporate power.

    Sounds like closing the barn door after the horse has escaped to me…

    To me, the bottom line is, do we really need more money in politics??

    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

      Todd,

      Most of your post is excellent. There is ONE trap that you fell into, at least from my cursory reading, and that is the trap of The Precautionary Principle.

      You state: “Oh yes, heaven forbid that we have elected officials with enough intellect to see a problem coming and try to stop it. Let’s just stick our head in the sand and ignore it. Are you serious??”

      This is perfect evidence of “The Precautionary Principle”.
      Assume problem X is going to occur, and then mandate that people MUST do Y and Z, as if X had already occurred.

      Based upon The Precautionary Principle, I might get hit by a truck while crossing the street; therefore, either all traffic on the street should be banned, or I should be banned from being allowed to cross the street. Any other solution (stop lights, crosswalks, etc.) demonstrably fails to prevent 100% of people from getting hit by trucks while crossing the street, so those measures are inadequate.

      • Peter,
        So your “Precautionary Principle” would limit taking any action based on possible future outcomes? Isn’t that like sticking your head in the sand? Doesn’t that go against everything discussed here – knowledge, preparation?

        Your “Precautionary Principle” is an example of taking a concept to the extreme, which makes it seem unreasonable. My solution is to keep the current laws, which allowed corporations limited political involvement, and tweak the laws if necessary. Throwing out the entire law leaves everyone open to abuse.

        I’m suggesting we return to the Stop Lights, Cross Walks, and Speed Limits, and not allow drag racing down Main St.

        The world is not black and white Peter – it’s lots of shades of gray…

        • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

          Todd,

          I can see your point, to an extent. I think that where we differ is in how to accomplish the desired result.

          I have a firm belief that most (not all, mind you, but most) people are capable of a significant amount of self-regulation. Most people will not drive 100mph down a narrow street in a residential neighborhood. A neighborhood can erect stop signs on their own, and most people will pay attention to them and actually stop, etc.

          I also believe that some people are not nearly so capable of self-regulation. However, the problem with such people is that no matter how much external (non-self) regulation you attempt to impose upon them, they will have a strong tendency to not pay any attention to that either.

          I do not think that government serves the purpose of protecting us from people who are incapable of self-regulation. This is because if they are not capable of self-regulation, they are not succeptible to external regulation either.

          My world is not necessarily as “black and white” as it may seem to be. I have no problem with traffic lights, I merely have a problem with who put the traffic lights there, why they put them there, and how they enforce their “rules”.

          I am pretty sure that traffic lights would still exist in a VDLG society, or even in one with no government at all, but the enforcement and penalty mechanisms would probably be quite different (and in my opinion more effective).

    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

      Also Todd,

      To answer the question you posed at the end of your post, no, we do NOT need more money in politics, we need FAR LESS.

      Perhaps the answer is to limit contributions STRICTLY to individuals, and to STRICTLY limit the dollar amount that can be contributed, with no loopholes that would allow the “rich” to contribute more than anyone else.

      Since a majority of people cannot afford to donate much, why don’t we set the contribution ceiling at $52 per year. Pretty much anyone can afford $1 per week.

      If the politicians cannot afford to campaign on that, too bad!

      • Peter,
        $52 a year…times 300 million people…that’s $7.8 billion dollars. Jeez, I would think we could run elections on that!!

        Although some “1st Amendment” nut might say you’re imposing on his freedom of speech… 😉

        • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

          Hehe, perhaps.

          I am personally of the opinion that little pieces of paper that claim to be money or currency do not represent the concept of “speech” in any way.

          Last time I checked, people spoke with their mouths, not with the wallet in their back pocket. At least that is the way it is SUPPOSED to work 🙂

    • Todd

      I understand the concerns regarding money in politics but:

      The bottom line is do we really need more Freedom, Liberty and Justice for All in our politics?

      For me the answer is a resounding HELL YES!

      So now, how do we address your concerns about money in the context of a free society?

      By the way, I am guessing you haven’t run out of X country skiing yet this year, true?
      JAC

      • JAC,

        So now, how do we address your concerns about money in the context of a free society?

        I thought you were the expert on freedom?? How would you address it?

        Skiing is fantastic right now – highs in the mid 30’s, lows in the teens, lots of sunshine, and a 12″ base makes for perfect conditions! I skied every night last week under the almost-full moon. It’s almost like skiing on a cloudy day, except lots of spooky shadows!! Booo!

        Hoping to ski into April…

        • Todd

          Ahhh Yes, X country on moonlit nights. I do remember how beautiful and QUIET. In those days shadows included elk, not biggie as they run off, and the occassional Moose, problem as they stand their ground and expect you to run off. The occassional cougar in the area always made it exciting as well.

          I asked your thoughts first. Time for you to break out of your box and put on the other hat for a minute.

          I am not convinced that too much money is the problem. I think it is a waste but the real question should be whether it actually does dominate the choices and if so, why. We come back to that point where we say voting is good but then voters aren’t smart enough to see through the BS. I guess I view tweeking of campaign rules, advertising and donation limitations as just a waste of time. There has to be a more fundamental approach.

          Time to step out of that box now and brainstorm some new ideas.

          JAC

    • USWeapon says:

      Todd,

      Now you’re using emotional theatrics to miss-state the issue. He is not saying they are now able too, he’s saying this ruling might give corporations the confidence to expand their influence to candidates and then to employees. The two are absolutely related.

      Todd, you are failing to see the reality here, my friend. I did not write an article that uses this supposed possibility as a call to Congress to take action. Mr. Wilson did. You refuse to see the fact that he intentionally attempted to make the situation dire, in need of Congressional action. Yet you attempt to say he was only offering a simple caution.

      It’s currently not an issue because corporations are afraid of lawsuits. This ruling reduces that risk. Did you read the article you’re quoting from?

      Yes I did, Todd. I also read the ruling, and it was a long read. This ruling does nothing to reduce the risk of lawsuits for companies that attempt to influence employee voting behavior. And as I mentioned over and over, the problem of lawsuits is secondary to the fact that bad publicity will kill them.

      Again, did you read this statement? Did you notice the words “that I believe will”? He’s stating an opinion. I’d think you of all people would understand someone having an opinion…

      Absolutely I understand someone having an opinion Todd. But I am not asking for Congressinoal action based on my opinion. And I am not giving a state of the union to the entire country with an opinion that is not backed up by a single fact. Let’s not forget that this is the President. He gave a directive to change the law based on this opinion. That isn’t just offering an opinion. And given politicians record on the accuracy of their “opinions”, I am not interested in them taking Congressional action based on them.

      It’s not about being fired. It’s about missed promotions and raises or making someone’s life at work miserable so they quit on their own…

      You are attempting to argue semantics. Firing is not the point. If a company had the balls to hold a captive audience meeting expressing that employees should vote against Barack Obama, it would be viral within 3 hours. MSNBC would boycott, and the company would lose millions.

      Oh yes, heaven forbid that we have elected officials with enough intellect to see a problem coming and try to stop it. Let’s just stick our head in the sand and ignore it. Are you serious??

      See a problem ahead and fix it? Or attempt to rig the game in your perceived favor? But ignore that. I think I made it clear that this was not a problem ahead. This was BS. They don’t need to see a problem and try to stop it. There is no problem. Nothing to stop. And even if there were, the point of the article was to find a better way to deal with it. A point you apparently missed.

      I agree, but it doesn’t take much to swing elections, especially if this starts at the local level where a relatively small amount of cash can have a big impact, and then works its way up.

      Yet I don’t see you calling for congressional legislation against ACORN.

      A corporation is different because it has a captive audience for 8+ hours a day. It can put up subtle signs around the work place, force you to go to meetings, make you feel like the future of the company – and therefore your job – depends on you voting how they want.

      Really? You actually believe this? A captive audience for 8+ hours a day? I don’t think so. Subtle signs around the workplace? You mean like “vote for Obama” signs in the Subway, where people are forced to view them? Persuading you that the future of the company depends on your vote? You mean like promising that the future of the country is dependent on you supporting this candidate over that one? Todd, you are living in a weird world when you basically describe the entire process of a campaign and pretend it is only horrible when a company does it.

      Remember the transcript from the AutoZone meeting someone posted a few months ago? Do you think those employees felt threatened or pressured?

      Yep, I sure do remember that transcipt. You know what, I don’t shop at Autozone any more. Weird how that works isn’t it?

      Suppose that corporations were telling employees that they must vote for a certain candidate or face repercussions.

      Again, you’re using emotional theatrics to miss-state the issue. Corporations can’t force voters to vote a certain way, but they can influence them. Have you ever heard of advertising and marketing? Corporations have already figured out how to illicit emotional responses, tug at the heart strings, sway opinions, etc. Corporations spend billions of dollars on advertising because it has an impact. Do you want even more of that corporate expertise and funding in elections?

      I am not using “theatrics”. Talk about cherry picking a statement. Let’s look at the entirety of what I said around that Todd: After you answer that, let’s go a step further. Suppose that corporations were telling employees that they must vote for a certain candidate or face repercussions. First, how would the corporation know who the employee voted for? Second, suppose that they could know who the employee voted for. Is Congressional legislation the answer to solving this complex non-issue?
      So instead of accepting the fact that I called it a non-issue because it cannot be done, you attempted to paint it as theatrics because it cannot be done. Silly rabbit. And I offered two ideas that even if we “SUPPOSE” that they could be done, the answer isn’t Mr. Wilson’s solution. Yet I am the one accused of theatrics.

      But it isn’t lost on me for one second that in your entire diatribe against my article you never once addressed the fact that this is no different than what unions do, ACORN does or all the other things in the paragraph before this statement.

      Sounds great, and I don’t mean to be negative, but a few things:
      1. This does happen today, and has limited impact. The group calling for the “boycott” is attacked as politically motivated, blah, blah, blah…
      2. Who determines who is listed? Who determines what is accurate? Who is the “impartial” judge we all can agree on?
      3. Much of this will be subtle, behind the scenes “advertising”. Very hard to pin down…

      Agreed. I didn’t say it would be easy. I also didn’t claim to have the answer. I offered a single start towards a solution. The point of the article was to attempt to find a solution that best fits the need.

      Just a few days ago someone here was talking about having to stop things before they get started, because it’s hard to undo…but now you’re saying we should just let this happen and if it gets out of control and corporations gain too much influence, then we can create websites to monitor this? Or then have Congress (which was bought and paid for by corporate money) pass a law to limit corporate power.

      Sounds like closing the barn door after the horse has escaped to me…

      What someone was talking about was how hard it is to change Congressional legislation once it is passed. Hence why we should be attempting to solve this potential issue without Congressional legislation as a first step.

      To me, the bottom line is, do we really need more money in politics??

      I don’t know, ask Barack Obama, as he spent three times more than any past candidate in history. I guess the answer is only if you are a Democrat. 😉

  10. HAHAHHA AHAHAHAH AHAH AHAHAHAHAH AHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHA H AHHAHAHAHAHHAHA HAHAH AHAHA HAHAHAHAH HAHAHAHAHAHAHH AHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHHA AHAHHA AHHAHAHA AHHAHAH!

    http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/02/26/liberals.atheists.sex.intelligence/index.html?hpt=C2

    PROOF!

    Crazy busy day (again), here at the old non-disclosed financial institution, but I hope you all enjoy the link 😉

    • Mathius

      Yes it is ABSOLUTE proof that only an arrogant elitist from the left could conclude that a “statistically insignificant” difference is a worthy of National News coverage.

      Read this the other day and did get a kick out of it. Especially all the commments from the lefty bloggers confirming their “intellectual superiority”.

      • Mathius says:

        Hey, Matt Drudge is a conservative – he’s the one who decided to make it national news.

        Give me time and money and the freedom to define the terms as I see fit and I can prove anything I want.

      • JAC,
        That’s “statistically significant”, not “statistically insignificant”.

        Just a little detail! 😉

        • Todd

          It was actually “insignificant” if you look at the true population that comprises IQ.

          The critique I read of this finding pointed out that 100 is the mean IQ of the population. That is the definition. As such the bounds are something like 90 to 110. Thus both groups fall within the total population mean as expected. Their individual group scores are not significant against the population.

          What was done was to correlate them against each other instead of the true mean. I don’t know how the authors did that but that was my understanding. A good example of statistics don’t lie but ………..use statistics, MAYBE.

          I found the article humorous on many levels but aggrivating in that it seems like just one more attempt to divide us all up and keep us pecking away at each other. And there is nothing more offensive than using IQ to do that. Remember, it was IQ that was used to justify the inferiority of the Black Man.

    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

      I have no idea what the heck an “evolutionary psychologist” is, but this article proves that like all other psychologists, evolutionary psychologists are very adept with sprinkling a bit of sense into a whole lot of nonsense and expecting the reader to believe that the whole mixture ultimately makes sense 🙂

      • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

        When I was in college, EVERYONE who was not majoring in Psychology agreed to the following:

        Those that major is Psychology are the ones who need it the most!

        ’nuff said.

        • Mathius says:

          I liked this bit:

          The study found that young adults who said they were “very conservative” had an average adolescent IQ of 95, whereas those who said they were “very liberal” averaged 106.

          • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

            Well Mathius,

            I must say I fit that pretty well actually. My IQ is quite high, and when I was a “young adult” I was certainly liberal. I was also never particularly religious, and always preferred to have just one girlfriend (or wife) at a time, as opposed to several or many.

            Fortunately I was intelligent enough to grow out of that phase 🙂

            (I still only have 1 and I am still not particularly religious, but I figured out that “liberalism” under the current definition cannot possibly work.)

            • Mathius says:

              Odd… I figured out the same thing about VLDG..

              • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

                Ah, but you see, the key difference is that I figured out that the current “liberalism” does not work because of my observation of actual occurences and phenomena.

                If you have figured out that VDLG does not work, you have figured that out merely through inference, and not from any actual EVIDENCE!

              • Mathius says:

                It seems to be working just fine to me…..

          • If you like that, then I’m assuming you fit that description? So, here’s hoping, as you work your way through the adolescent stage, you will gain the experiences needed to put that intelligence to good use.

            There’s hope yet, Mathius!

        • Peter,

          Actually Ed Batista, my professor for introduction to Psychology 101 back in 1966 said, first day, first class, “Gentlemen, you are all here because you have a problem”. He, on reflection was absolutely right. We were there to understand ourselves better.

          A good pychologist knows that psych is not a science, too many unknown variables, impossible to verify postulates.

          • Mathius says:

            Some day, sir, it will be. But we have a long path ahead of us.

            When (not if) they fully understand the brain, and when (not if) they develop a way to scan the brain with sufficient detail in real time, computer programs will be able to analyze all of our neuroses. Shortly after, we will be able to repair, augment, and alter our brains and brain chemistry.

            Then it will be a science.

    • Mathius-

      It seems no one caught the rather flaky definition of liberal:

      “It defines “liberal” in terms of concern for genetically nonrelated people and support for private resources that help those people.”

      In other words an anarchist who wants government out of everyone’s lives and heavily supports private charities would be classified as a liberal.

  11. Black Flag and Peter

    PeterB said:

    “So, by creating a corporation and attempting to imbue it with “human” rights, the government has created a situation where the individual controlling the message can hide behind the corporation and/or use the corporation to control the message, while escaping the personal consequences.

    Do I have that basically right?”

    Black Flag said:

    “Peter, Yes, that is my argument and belief.”

    JAC says:

    We know that corporations are held accountable for their actions (see tobacco rulings).
    We also know that individuals within corporations are held to account for what they say “on behalf” of the corporation. And that they can suffer personally for such.

    So the entire premise that the corporate veil protects the individuals behind the veil “completely” is a false claim.

    Where does that leave the argument that corporations should not be allowed to fund political speech that is to the corporations benefit?

  12. JAC.

    The Tax exempt status of the organization has nothing to do with the issue.

    It highlights:

    (1) it is a corporation – purpose to shield people from consequences

    (2) specifically for the purpose of government lobbying

    and (3) it is not just a bunch of people organizing themselves – it is the express use of an abstraction to mitigate negative consequences and to hide specific memberships

    You tried to criticize based on claiming this group was tax exempt under provisions for charity. I simply pointed out that is FALSE.

    It is not false. It sits within the same framework – 501 clause.

    If you check out the rest of Section 501 you will find the dollar limitations for C4 organizations and other exempt organizations.

    Here’s my link:
    http://www.t-tlaw.com/lr-05.htm

    Where’s yours?

    It was a victory for free speech.

    About as free as slaves petitioning their master.

    It was a horrific setback.

    It undermined the liberty movement and reduction of government power.

    Government has confirmed that it creates rights and now can point to agreement by an organization whose basics are declared “limited government”.

    There are a lot of fish to fry – and all of them count.

  13. JAC

    We know that corporations are held accountable for their actions (see tobacco rulings).

    Killing a ghost is not accountability.

    We also know that individuals within corporations are held to account for what they say “on behalf” of the corporation. And that they can suffer personally for such.

    No they don’t.

    They are shielded by the corporate structure.

    Accountable is a dismissive.

    Bush is accountable by being unelected for the murder of millions.

    He has mitigated the consequences he should have suffered.

    You use accountable as a “mulligan”.

    I see it purely as an excuse to dismiss.

    So the entire premise that the corporate veil protects the individuals behind the veil “completely” is a false claim.

    Of course it is not.

    If a CEO by his decision devastate a million acres of land – does that CEO have to pay for his damage?

    Nope.

    So it is your claim of “accountability” that lacks substance. It is an excuse to – literally – get away with murder.

    Where does that leave the argument that corporations should not be allowed to fund political speech that is to the corporations benefit?

    Corporations should be mute as they are nothing but a man’s imagination.

    • BF

      The CEO of the company that breaks the law will be held personally accountable to the law if he took part in that decision. That is why you see corp officers go to jail for fraud or other such crimes.

      They will also suffer penalties imposed by the BOD and/or shareholders (owners)

      The Corp itselt suffers from fines and public outcry (boycott etc) thus the penalty is passed to the “owners” and BOD/Officers if their pay is linked to profits.

      Your accusations simply ignore the reality of recent court history.

      I will grant you this however, legal recourse has been difficult to obtain due to DELAYS purchased by high priced attorneys.

      I have personally sat in the CEO/Pres chair of a small corporation and believe me, the position was not completely protected. Basically I was protected against acts resulting from innocent errors or omissions, but had to carry insurance to protect that. Negligence and deliberate acts against the law were all punishable and I could be held personally liable for the results. I had to indemnify the company and cover myself with insurance.

      My wife in fact had to carry such insurance as a federal employee. Seems that even the govt will not stand by its employees anymore.

      I think you are confusing the veil created by govt rules and regulation with the “corporate veil” which has become more like a seive than a veil.

      • Birdman says:

        JAC:

        Just curious, what is your background? You held CEO/President for a small corporation. That’s pretty impressive.

        • Birdman

          Not that big a deal really. It was for companies I started. They were not publicaly traded.

          But I sure did get a lesson in what it is all about. Especially when you have a real Board of Directors and Corp Lawyers watching every move.

          My formal education was not in business mgt. While I took many such classed in college my real education was self taught by reading and experience.

          Back later Bird, gotta go to a meeting.
          JAC

    • First you claim they escape punishment, now you complain it isn’t enough.

      • JAC

        No, I claim -as I have from the beginning- that their consequences are mitigated.

        You believe if they get off with a slap on the wrist = they have been “accountable”.

        I say they must carry the full weight of their choices and not pawn it off (or some of it) onto others.

        If those whose consequences of actions are mitigatedMUST MEAN that innocent people bear the suffering.

        • BF

          I will grant you that the original intent was to create a wall between the owners (shareholders) and liability. That was the enticement. Of course the concept was expanded to include protection of officers and directors (who were usually the folks who started the company).

          But that WALL has been significantly eroded over the centuries. It now has numerous holes to the point that officers, directors and even owners can not escape liability. You say it is mitigated. I say that mitigation today comes primarily from govt regulation of other things, not the corporate veil itself.

          Your timber destruction example is a case in point. The Law allows the destruction so the corporation is not liable, but neither is the individual, partnership or trust. In fact the corporation is more prone to succumbing to political pressure to not destroy the forest, legally, than the individual. Because the Corp is in it for the long haul.

          If the LAW is broken the officers and directors can and have been sentenced to jail. Fines have been imposed. The actual owners are still protected from criminal prosecution but not from civil action that affects their pocket books.

          But all of that is moot with respect to the real issue discussed here. That is the right of the individuals within an organization to form a political message on behalf of that organization. That right is not forfeit because the Govt decided to grant certain types of classes of organizations. A corporation is an entity consisting of people with a vested interest in the mission/goals of that entity. They have the right to speak out in defense of that entity and its goals which they share.

          To deny this right to this group authorizes govt to deny it to another group for equally fuzzy reasons. If a corporation does not have the privilege to speek then I guess advertising can also be banned. It is after all just another form of speech.

          In fact, if only individual humans have a right to speak, as you suggested, then all company advertising regardless of the form should be banned. Why should one form of business organization be banned and not the others?

          I understand all the arguments regarding corporate status. I absolutely disagree that the Federal Govt has the authority to impair SPEECH of anyone, regardless of the type of their organization.

          Besides, by what authority does the Federal decide to impair the rights of citizens bases on an organizational entity authorized by the STATES? The Fed doesn’t create the Corp so why should it have any authority over the Corp’s speech privileges?

          You can argue that it should under a different construct. But that is not what our current constitution states. And that is the only issue on the table.

          I do not fear the power of the corporations. To fear the corporations control of voters is to accept the ignorance of the American voter. I refuse to accept that belief as true. It is the govt I fear and it is the govt’s tyranny that must be addressed. Business structure will mean little if the govt’s power over business is eliminated.

          In the meantime I will continue to err on the side of freedom and liberty. If that means living with obnoxious and copius quantities of Corporate political ads to protect political speech, then so be it. Every nick taken out of the federal govts authority is a step in the right direction at this point in time.

  14. Judy Sabatini says:

    Sorry for the hijacking, but wanted to share this.

    WWII Veterans Stuck in Okinawa, Looking for Help to Get to Iwo Jima

    Tuesday, March 02, 2010
    By Joshua Rhett Miller

    A group of 12 World War II Marines ranging in age from 85 to 97 is stuck on the island of Okinawa, waging what could be their final fight to return to Iwo Jima to commemorate the 65th anniversary of their greatest victory.

    The veterans group, the Greatest Generation Foundation, asked the military to help them get to Iwo Jima after a charter plane company that had volunteered to take them to the battle site canceled two weeks ago, Stars & Stripes reported.

    But their request, according to U.S. Pacific Command spokesman Marine Maj. Bradley Gordon, had not been approved or denied as of late Tuesday — less than 24 hours before a memorial ceremony was set to begin.

    “As of this moment, no one has denied anything,” Gordon told FoxNews.com. “I did not say that it was denied, I said it could be denied.”

    PACOM officials in Hawaii and Japan were trying to arrange a military flight for the group if their request was approved, but the aircraft they had designated for the trip “broke,” Gordon said. He referred FoxNews.com to Department of Defense officials for further comment.

    Maj. Maureen Schumann, a Pentagon spokeswoman, did not immediately return requests for comment.

    The Denver-based nonprofit organization dedicated to honoring U.S. and allied war veterans brought the 12 veterans from the U.S. to Japan last weekend in hopes that the military would provide travel accommodations.

    “[The veterans] are very emotional,” Timothy Davis, president of the Greatest Generation Foundation told Stars & Stripes. “They know the dream of going back to Iwo Jima is not going to take shape … We’re going to fight this. I have to do what I can to get these boys back to Iwo Jima.”

    One veteran was reportedly hospitalized with stroke-like symptoms after arriving in Okinawa, but he was released Sunday. Another veteran reportedly suffering from an infection was hospitalized Tuesday.

    “Reality is kicking in,” Davis told Stars & Stripes. “Come the 70th anniversary [of Iwo Jima] most of them are going to be dead. If we allow these veterans to go to their graves with these stories, then shame on us.”

    Iwo Jima was the site of some of the fiercest fighting in the World War II campaign against Japan. U.S. troops captured the island in March of 1945 after more than a month of fighing. Roughly 6,000 U.S. Marines and 17,000 Japanese soldiers died in the battle.

  15. JAC

    The CEO of the company that breaks the law will be held personally accountable to the law if he took part in that decision. That is why you see corp officers go to jail for fraud or other such crimes.

    Not my point.

    If your argument was truth, then why do corporations exist? They would be redundant in their mitigation of consequences.

    They will also suffer penalties imposed by the BOD and/or shareholders (owners)

    OOooooo – fire me with a $125 million payout- Ooooooo

    The Corp itselt suffers from fines and public outcry (boycott etc) thus the penalty is passed to the “owners” and BOD/Officers if their pay is linked to profits.

    Hahahhahhah

    Riiight.

    Devastate and lay waste and Ooooooo … I don’t get all my paycheck.

    Do the same thing as a real person and you lose everything.

    The root purpose of a corporation is to mitigate the negative consequences of action.

    No matter how much you wish to avoid this fact, it is the truth, old friend.

    I have personally sat in the CEO/Pres chair of a small corporation and believe me, the position was not completely protected. Basically I was protected against acts resulting from innocent errors or omissions, but had to carry insurance to protect that. Negligence and deliberate acts against the law were all punishable and I could be held personally liable for the results. I had to indemnify the company and cover myself with insurance.

    I’ve been there too – including CEO/Pres. of public traded companies.

    But so what?

    The truth is that the existence of such an abstraction is to mitigate loss.

    But consequences are a zero-sum.

    If you avoid them, someone else carries it.

    If you avoid loss, someone else suffered it.

    And that is what a corporation does – avoid loss.

  16. USWeapon says:

    A bit disappointing that no one offered any possible fixes to the problem Mr. Wilson claims is imminent. Am I to believe that no one believes there is an answer that doesn’t include Congressional legislation?

    USW

    • Hey USW!

      I’ve been doing an immense amout of reading and research about a subject (that has changed from my last e-mail, although will still be a small part). Specifically, I would say that Congress needs to go on vacation for about the century. This country has been acting on unsubstantiated fears for decades, at the cost of many lives. (both are hints) To me it’s like this, “lets scare the shit out of people, so we can go to war to stop something that might happen.” I find this idea illogical, and worse, just plain wrong.

      The education level here is super high, but as you posted earier to Todd, acting on emotions is not good.

      Peace!

      G!

    • USW

      NO.

      I don’t think the problem really exists, except in Mr. Wilson’s mind.

      If it does exist it has nothing to do with the Free Speech decision.

      As I said, state and other federal employment laws probably already address this issue.

      But I’ll bet you bottom dollar we start seeing this argument on all the lefty blogs and eventually the lefty talky shows.

      Live Free my Friend
      JAC

    • There is no problem. Companies who do things that make their employees uncomfortable will be paying a premium for labor. If the benefit they get from those actions outweighs the increased cost of labor, good for them.

      If the government wasn’t in such a position that lobbying was so very profitable, this would really be a non-issue.

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