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View Diary: Saving Our Democracy (102 comments)

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

    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-)
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        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

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          •  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-)
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              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

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              •  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:
                  VClib

                  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:
            VClib

            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-)
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        VClib

        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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