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View Diary: Saving Our Democracy (102 comments)

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  •  Because of the elimination of religious freedom (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    coffeetalk, VClib

    for religious corporations, the amendment is DOA.  If a religious corporation doesn't have rights (per the amendment, rights only adhere to natural persons), then the government can prohibit religious organizations from engaging in religious practice.  It can't regulate religious practice by individuals, but it could regulate or prohibit the religious activity of religious corporations.  (churches, mosques, etc., are corporate entities).

    Another issue w/ the amendment: "freedom of the press" doesn't mean "the institution of media," but rather means "written communication."  The amendment appears to be intended to carve out a bona fide media exception (ala McCain-Feingold), but it's not a very crisply drafted attempt at that.  

    •  In reality (19+ / 0-)

      a "religious corporation" is a misnomer.

      Be that as it may, NO CORPORATION should be granted the same rights as PERSONS.  


      It is time to #Occupy Media.

      by lunachickie on Sun Dec 11, 2011 at 09:15:08 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  not sure why you think (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        its a misnomer; religious entities are corporate forms, often formed under a specific religious corp statute.  That said, I appreciate your consistency in holding that churches should be stripped of first amendment rights, but as a practical matter such an amendment doesn't have a shot in the dark of passage.  It's a good start to the conversation, though, re the rights of corps.

        •  Do (6+ / 0-)

          you really believe that your pitiful attempts to "discredit" other posters with your "informed" word salads--which do little more than spew like so much spittle as it attempts to put words in others' mouths--is really all that convincing?

          So you're so smart, tell us again when "religious entities" were granted legal corporate status in the United States.

          Details are very helpful.

          It is time to #Occupy Media.

          by lunachickie on Sun Dec 11, 2011 at 02:01:03 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

            •  The question was not "Are there (5+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              elwior, S F Hippie, aliasalias, pot, cybersaur

              religious corporations in the United States?"

              The question was "when were religious corporations granted legal corporate status in the United States"?

              Feel free to provide a little more detail in your next answer.

              It is time to #Occupy Media.

              by lunachickie on Sun Dec 11, 2011 at 02:33:02 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Are you and Johnny Wurster a team? (7+ / 0-)

              You two are obviously not Progressives, and you so often show up together in threads, almost always taking issue with the thrust of what the diarist is saying.
                Why do you do it? This is a progressive blog. There are other political blogs where your conservative/Republican views would be welcome.

              "We the People of the United States...." -U.S. Constitution

              by elwior on Sun Dec 11, 2011 at 03:36:25 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  It's so obviously (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                elwior, pot, cybersaur

                contrived. I thought I was the only one who ever noticed that....

                It is time to #Occupy Media.

                by lunachickie on Sun Dec 11, 2011 at 04:24:14 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  elwior - I am guilty too (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                radical simplicity

                My comments here are unrelated to this specific diary.

                What coffeetalk, johnny, several others and I try to do is offer some balance and in particular try and call out errors of fact. I continue to be amazed at how many factual errors are included in diaries and many comments that often start an echo chamber of misinformation. If we want to be successful advocates we can't rely on incorrect information because then our positions can be easily debunked.

                I can't speak for coffeetalk or johnny but personally I just love playing the devil's advocate. Opinions are opinions and everyone is entitled to their own opinion. However, if the basis of the opinions are factual errors, or significant lapses in logic, someone should point that out. Public policy positions should be able to stand the test of significant review and debate. If they can't then those positions will not stand the scrutiny they will receive in the bare knuckles world of politics outside the comfort of DKOS. I think that coffeetalk and I do this in a very respectful manner. johnny isn't diplomatic, but he is the most knowledgeable person on our site regarding the current IRS code for both individuals and corporations (he is a tax lawyer) and is one of the few people here who can actually read and understand 10K and other SEC filings, including the legal footnotes. In my view that makes him a tremendous resource to all of us.

                Kos welcome all Democrats, not just progressives. I have been an active Democrat since I was eight years old and handing our flyers for my uncle who was running in the Democratic primary for the Massachusetts state House. I bring some experiences in the corporate and startup world that aren't common here and can often provide another perspective for people to consider as they determine their views on specific topics. I have a lot of fun here, that's why I blog at DKOS.  

                "let's talk about that"

                by VClib on Sun Dec 11, 2011 at 06:01:43 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  the problem is not (4+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  elwior, aliasalias, pot, cybersaur

                  "devil's advocacy".  The problem is the continued and willful disregard for actual points being made in the diary and/or the follow-up discussion.

                  To wit:

                  The question was "when were religious corporations granted legal corporate status in the United States"?

                  It is time to #Occupy Media.

                  by lunachickie on Sun Dec 11, 2011 at 06:22:05 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  lunachickie - they may not know (0+ / 0-)

                    A little searching on Google would suggest between 1913 and 1920. The income tax amendment was passed in 1913 and the Revenue Act of 1918 allowed deductions for contributions to certain not for profit organizations who would have had to register to achieve that not for profit status.

                    "let's talk about that"

                    by VClib on Sun Dec 11, 2011 at 06:39:37 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  asdf (4+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      elwior, pot, Pescadero Bill, cybersaur
                      certain not-for-profit organizations

                      Should we simply assume that churches should be included in the "certain" category? Or should we take the word of an alleged expert who wrote only this:

                      religious entities are corporate forms, often formed under a specific religious corp statute

                      Gimme a break. The gaggle of words thrown out in an attempt to look informed and authoritative really didn't say a whole lot of anything germane to the actual point of the diary.

                      See, I enjoy my own little brand of devil's advocacy out here. I try to pin the word-saladsmiths down to specifics. Usually, they don't have any. And then the actual, on-topic conversation tends to continue.

                      It is time to #Occupy Media.

                      by lunachickie on Sun Dec 11, 2011 at 06:56:18 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Religious organizations are corporations (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        johnny wurster

                        organized under Section 501(c)(3) of the IRS code. To be eligible for tax deductible contributions you must be a corporation registered under this specific code with the IRS. However, I thought your question was not "if" religious organizations in the US are corporations, but rather "when" the practice either started or required. My guess is that johnny with his access to the Lexus/Nexus data base and tax background will come up with a definitive answer on the "when" question. The "if" question is easy to answer, if you want your supporters to be able to have their contributions be deductible for income tax purposes you must be a corporation under 501(c) (3).

                        "let's talk about that"

                        by VClib on Sun Dec 11, 2011 at 07:28:31 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                      •  Here ya go: (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        VClib, DollyMadison

                        It's a search of federal decisions showing that churches are corporations.


                      •  The question, once again (0+ / 0-)

                        was as follows:

                        "when were religious corporations granted legal corporate status in the United States"?

                        WHEN were they granted legal corporate status?


                        The question was WHEN did this happen? It was not always thus.

                        It is time to #Occupy Media.

                        by lunachickie on Mon Dec 12, 2011 at 04:52:46 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

          •  Your comment implied that they don't exist today (0+ / 0-)

            That's why someone replied to you, pointing out that they do, in fact, exist.

            In fact, it's ill-informed posters like you who poison the debate. It's you who's not convincing. It's you who's obnoxiously self-absorbed.

        •  IIRC, (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Sen. Sanders amendment refers to for-profit corporations. Any religious corporation that is structured for profit falls in the same steaming pit as Walmart.

          We cannot win a war crime - Dancewater, July 27, 2008

          by unclejohn on Mon Dec 12, 2011 at 05:32:11 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  don'tcha just love (0+ / 0-)

            how they tried to lump "churches" in here so that the discussion died out?

            OMG, we can't take rights away from corporations! What about our CHURCHES?

            As if somehow, religion would come to a standstill if we suddenly bounced CORPORATIONS back to the proper place in the pecking order.

            What a complete and total crock of shit!

            It is time to #Occupy Media.

            by lunachickie on Mon Dec 12, 2011 at 05:00:04 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  It only applies to "for-profit corporations" (16+ / 0-)

      so any nonprofit would not be subject to it as written:

      ‘‘SECTION 1. The rights protected by the Constitution of the United States are the rights of natural persons and do not extend to for-profit corporations, limited liability companies, or other private entities established for business purposes or to promote business interests under the laws of any state, the United States, or any foreign state.

      ‘‘SECTION 2. Such corporate and other private entities established under law are subject to regulation by the
      people through the legislative process so long as such regulations are consistent with the powers of Congress and the States and do not limit the freedom of the press.

      ‘‘SECTION 3. Such corporate and other private entities shall be prohibited from making contributions or expenditures in any election of any candidate for public office or the vote upon any ballot measure submitted to the people.

      ‘‘SECTION 4. Congress and the States shall have the
      power to regulate and set limits on all election contributions and expenditures, including a candidate’s own spending, and to authorize the establishment of political committees to receive, spend, and publicly disclose the sources of those contributions and expenditures.’’.

      Resist much, obey little. ~~Edward Abbey, via Walt Whitman

      by willyr on Sun Dec 11, 2011 at 10:16:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  But what about... (6+ / 0-)

        Those religions that are ALL about the money...

        failure to let THEM put money in politics is of course a breach of their religious rights!


        One of these days, I'm gonna learn that I'm only really good at convincing people when I'm being a wiseass.

        by detroitmechworks on Sun Dec 11, 2011 at 10:21:34 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Let's look at it again: (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        coffeetalk, Evolutionary, VClib
        The rights protected by the Constitution of the United States are the rights of natural persons

        If they're only the rights of natural persons, then no corporation - whether for-profit or non-profit - has those rights.
        •  You goddamned right. (4+ / 0-)

          Corporations are established by the state for specific purposes.  They have a much different and more limited set of rights than people.

          They have the right to own property.  They have some limited right to freedom of assembly.  They have the right to advertise their services, which does not imply a complete and total right to free speech.

          Corporations have no right to privacy.  There is an implicit subpoena power in the fact that they are chartered by the state.

          Corporations have no right against self-incrimination.  All documentation of any corporate action is evidence.

          The law as it exists now is distorted and disfunctional.  Sander's Amendment goes a long way towards aligning it with what it needs to be.

          -7.75 -4.67

          "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

          There are no Christians in foxholes.

          by Odysseus on Sun Dec 11, 2011 at 07:17:46 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  "corporations are people, my friend" (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Pescadero Bill, cybersaur

            You've highlighted a point that seems to get lost in these pie fights, one that is so blindingly obvious it gets overlooked;
            Corporations are made up of people (and their rules, mission statements, balance sheets, etc). This is true of nonprofits and for-profits alike.

            Those people already have rights.
            They should not get a second set of rights.
            That's unfair, and unAmerican.

            This is a setup in which anyone in a position of power in any corporation gets two whacks at every ball.
            This deprives others (in the corporation or society at large) of an equal opportunity to exercise their rights, which are actually enshrined in the constitution, not in a radical and corrupt SCOTUS ruling.

            Does the Tea Party, or #Occupy have its own, distinct set of rights, aside from the rights of the people making up that movement, party, or union?
            no, they don't. And they shouldn't. They exist as an expression of the exercise of the rights of the people who comprise those organizations; in short, they are the fruit of those exercises, not the root.

            One does not need to delve into the fine print of corporate charters or obscure points of constitutional law to see this for what it is; a second vote for every 1%'er on every issue.
            That is the essence of unfairness.

            I wrote Bernie to ask him to put his argument in these terms.

            Class war has consequences, and we are living them.

            by kamarvt on Mon Dec 12, 2011 at 06:33:17 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Hogwash. (12+ / 0-)

      This is specifically stated to include only for-profit corporations. All religious organizations that claim corporate status are non-profit and thus untouched by this amendment.

      If you keep throwing up bogus objections that a simple reading of the text of the amendment would show you are incorrect, you'll be taken for a troll.

      Conservito delenda est pro is deleo orbis terrarum!

      by Stwriley on Sun Dec 11, 2011 at 11:39:10 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  If rights are only for natural persons, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        then non-profit corps don't have them either, even if for-profit corps are specifically called out.  

        Beyond that, though, the amendment would permit a state or city to seize corporate assets w/o due process or compensation.  Let's say Starbucks wants to move a corporate HQ to a city, and in exchange for it the mayor seizes and shuts down all the independent coffee houses.  The owners don't have any recourse, because the property is owned by the corp, which no longer has a right to be free from takings w/o compensation.  

        •  Why are you (14+ / 0-)

          so eager to give corporations the same rights as natural persons?

          Instead of giving all these straw-man examples, just say why you think corporations should have the same rights as real people.

          (Is it time for the pitchforks and torches yet?)

          by PJEvans on Sun Dec 11, 2011 at 01:39:19 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  PJE - Any amendment to restrict corp rights (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            johnny wurster

            is going to be very, very difficult to draft. That does not mean that johnny or I don't support some changes. The first few that have been submitted to Congress, including the Sanders effort, are very poor starts and I think johnny has fun poking holes in them. However, the only way we will find the language that will work, and not have devastating unintended consequences, is to keep trying and pointing out the the problems with the drafts that are modified over time.  

            "let's talk about that"

            by VClib on Sun Dec 11, 2011 at 06:07:56 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  You both miss the point... (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              elwior, kamarvt, cybersaur, Odysseus

              that corporation still will have many rights under the law (such as property rights), just not the personal, Constitutional rights that natural people enjoy (or are supposed to enjoy, but that's another problem.) Sen Sanders' amendment does not touch this kind of ordinary legal right either, it allows for it's limitation to prevent these for-profit corporations for having more rights than the natural people for whom they were established in the first place.

              You should keep in mind that incorporation was very rare and regarded with great suspicion during the early days of our republic. Most of the Founders (even Hamilton) would regard the current idea, re: Citizens United, that corporations have Constitutional rights as an abominable twisting of their intent.

              Conservito delenda est pro is deleo orbis terrarum!

              by Stwriley on Sun Dec 11, 2011 at 08:13:17 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Stwriley - that doesn't change the fact (0+ / 0-)

                that the Sanders effort is poorly drafted. The fact that there could be statutory rights granted is important, but the Sanders draft has many potential unintended consequences. As an example it may give Congress and state legislators too much power to favor incumbents. But this is how the process is designed to work, people propose Constitutional Amendment language and others provide critique until something gains broad, bi-partisan support. It's important to remember we can't do this with just Democrats.

                The fact that corporations were viewed with suspicion by the founders doesn't hold much sway with me. I thought we were in the "living" Constitution party? When we were thirteen colonies the types of business structures that were needed aren't really relevant to a global economy where large amounts of capital need to be formed to have organizations who can have the economies of scale necessary to compete in a global marketplace.

                "let's talk about that"

                by VClib on Sun Dec 11, 2011 at 08:33:14 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  STwriley - one question (0+ / 0-)

                What specific rights do corporations have that are "more rights than the natural people for whom they were established in the first place"?

                "let's talk about that"

                by VClib on Sun Dec 11, 2011 at 08:35:36 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I'll take this one; (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Pescadero Bill, cybersaur, Odysseus

                  per my above comment, that specific right is a second vote, a second opportunity to donate (now unlimited) money, and a second set of considerations that benefit specific human individuals who already have their own distinct voices. Those voices are already disproportionally loud due to the equally execrable decision to equate free speech with money (which is the opposite of free, last I checked).
                  It's T-ball for the powerful masquerading as fairness.

                  Class war has consequences, and we are living them.

                  by kamarvt on Mon Dec 12, 2011 at 06:38:35 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  kamarvt - good points (0+ / 0-)

                    I see your point that rights given to corporations are a second kick at the can because individual shareholders and employees have a political voice of their own. I think that point would be even more powerful if all corporations were structured as S corporations or LLCs where all of the profits had a flow through to the individual shareholders who paid taxes on the corporate profits on an individual basis. However, because we have corporations that are separate legal entities, pay corporate level taxes, and are regulated at the corporate level, you can't shut them out of the political process. Congress has the power to benefit or destroy companies with the stroke of a pen. I know, it happened to me. That suggests some balance regarding the political speech rights of corporations or their associations.

                    "let's talk about that"

                    by VClib on Mon Dec 12, 2011 at 10:35:11 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  good points yourself (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:

                      given the cravenness and corruption in Congress, it is unwise to hand it such power over major economic powers (of course, it's the little companies that get squashed, often at the behest of the big boys due to the exact problems Bernie is trying to address). And we agree that the current system is unfair and undemocratic.
                      Creating a mandate for S or LLC corps might be a good avenue. In a way it reminds me of the republican canard that 'small biz owners' will get whacked by a millionaire surtax because of their preferred tax structure - if it's gonna whack you, aren't you incentivized to change your tax structure?
                      There must be several ways to get the inhuman desires of megacorporations out of the political process without hobbling true economic interests.

                      Class war has consequences, and we are living them.

                      by kamarvt on Mon Dec 12, 2011 at 10:59:45 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

              •  Property rights are constitutional rights. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                The amendment would remove all property rights for corps.  Again, I shouldn't have to explain why it's a bad thing to give the government the power to shut down small business at will.

          •  Are you serious? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            I can't believe I have to explain why it'd be a bad thing if the government could pass a law mandating that the NY Times only write op-eds that favor the party in power.

          •  A corporatist by any other name. (0+ / 0-)

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