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On Monday, February 11th at 10AM at the National Press Club in Washington DC, Move to Amend will join members of Congress as they introduce Move to Amend’s “We the People Amendment”, an amendment that clearly and unequivocally states that:

1) Rights recognized under the Constitution belong to human beings only, and not to government-created artificial legal entities such as corporations and limited liability companies; and

2) Political campaign spending is not a form of speech protected under the First Amendment.

The “We the People Amendment” is being introduced by Representative Rick Nolan (DFL-Minnesota) and Representative Mark Pocan (D-Wisconsin).

http://WeThePeopleAmendment.org


How much different was our politics the day before Citizen’s United and the day after? How different would the outcome of the 2012 elections be absent Citizen’s United? It would not be very different.

There are two reasons this is likely the case. The first is that each side uses the same rules to maximize their political dollars and diverging interests are currently relatively equal. The second is that there is a point of diminishing returns. After TV, Radio, print, and online ads are saturated in a relatively balanced manner from both sides, they become simply fog to the average American citizen, and no longer has influence. At that point ideology is the driving factor. For several elections, this country has been voting as a center left country and it continues to vote that way.

What is the concern then? The concern is the same; the corrosive effect money has on our politics. Favors are owed to those big donors on both sides of the aisle. Moreover, big donors usually find a way to have their foot in every door and as such donate to each side.

The Citizens United case in effect equates money and speech. Since we have freedom of speech, it effectively removed the government’s authority to regulate unlimited political contributions.

There is only one solution to this corruption, a constitutional amendment that specifically decouples money from speech and removes corporate personhood. This will ensure that while free speech is maintained, the use of money in politics can be regulated. Moreover it will remove the ability of corporate entities of any kind (corporations, non-profits, unions, etc.) from claiming free speech rights and other rights of living breathing human beings.

Many organizations are already working on constitutional amendments purported to solve the problem. Most solely concentrate on the overturning of "Citizens United" or codifying that money is not speech. Again the question must be asked, what is the difference pre and post Citizens United. The organization Move to Amend (http://movetoamend.org) is the only one currently working on an all-encompassing amendment that will solve the corruption, once and for all as it covers both the decoupling of money and speech, as well as removing corporate personhood.

Move to Amend, by means of its over 160 affiliates have already gotten resolutions passed at the city, county, and state levels. Following the grassroots method of building awareness through the resolution process is likely the most effective way of generating popular support for real change in our electoral and political process.

This is how the process of real change begins. It is the engagement of the grassroots and electoral politics.


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Originally posted to ProgressiveLiberal on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 07:24 PM PST.

Also republished by American Legislative Transparency Project and ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (149+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gooserock, snacksandpop, kevinpdx, Azazello, shrike, thomask, janmtairy, Chi, HoosierDeb, ARS, WisVoter, GeorgeXVIII, sceptical observer, CoyoteMarti, Gowrie Gal, WSComn, dotsright, trivium, also mom of 5, gizmo59, BeninSC, Trendar, dustb, stevej, bloomer 101, Kombema, joanneleon, elginblt, Bob Duck, zett, bunsk, DamselleFly, fumie, flycaster, linkage, bsmechanic, ZenTrainer, Shockwave, Assaf, Oh Mary Oh, Bill Roberts, progressivevoice, roadbear, Bule Betawi, deepeco, Oaktown Girl, Minerva, think blue, Jeff Y, SilverWillow, Ginny in CO, ImpeccableLiberalCredentials, Rosaura, Mentatmark, Miss Jones, banjolele, Emmy, WearyIdealist, Sharon Wraight, shypuffadder, rat racer, dkmich, roseeriter, Paper Cup, rapala, cindercheek, Texknight, Habitat Vic, carpunder, Subversive, CwV, eagleray, ATFILLINOIS, mconvente, mkor7, flowerfarmer, blonde moment, bookwoman, limae, NBBooks, tapestry, Dr Erich Bloodaxe RN, jamess, Apost8, missLotus, glitterscale, mikejay611, davelf2, Jim Tietz, angelajean, sny, psnyder, TX Unmuzzled, Nada Lemming, Sun Tzu, Creosote, arizonablue, Norm in Chicago, Debby, Aspe4, MKinTN, Bisbonian, TracieLynn, mudslide, zerelda, Eddie L, SherriG, wasatch, ewmorr, cybersaur, Beetwasher, randomfacts, Crabby Abbey, Jim R, jaf49, JDWolverton, TheDuckManCometh, DWG, blueoasis, Empower Ink, Rhysling, Montreal Progressive, doroma, madgranny, seefleur, deviant24x, USHomeopath, maggiejean, maybeeso in michigan, papercut, Black Max, Nica24, Jim P, nailbender, happymisanthropy, Mr Robert, Words In Action, Alice Venturi, Showman, VTCC73, Noodles, RMForbes, SanFernandoValleyMom, blackjackal, ColoTim, ogre, Heimyankel, Liberal Thinking, justme
  •  Have You Got a Complete Exact Text? (26+ / 0-)

    The pickle we're in with the 2nd amendment is precisely because of the exact wording.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 07:29:01 PM PST

    •  The site says the final language (12+ / 0-)

      will be released tomorrow.

      Final language to be announced on February 11, 2013 at the National Press Club. Details below...
      I'd like to read it too.

      "The human eye is a wonderful device. With a little effort, it can fail to see even the most glaring injustice." Richard K. Morgan

      by sceptical observer on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 07:41:00 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's on the website (50+ / 0-)
        Move to Amend Proposed Amendment

        Section 1 [Corporations are not people and can be regulated]

        The rights protected by the Constitution of the United States are the rights of natural persons only.  

        Artificial entities, such as corporations, limited liability companies, and other entities, established by the laws of any State, the United States, or any foreign state shall have no rights under this Constitution and are subject to regulation by the People, through Federal, State, or local law.

        The privileges of artificial entities shall be determined by the People, through Federal, State, or local law, and shall not be construed to be inherent or inalienable.

        Section 2 [Money is not speech and can be regulated]

        Federal, State and local government shall regulate, limit, or prohibit contributions and expenditures, including a candidate’s own contributions and expenditures, for the purpose of influencing in any way the election of any candidate for public office or any ballot measure.

        Federal, State and local government shall require that any permissible contributions and expenditures be publicly disclosed.

        The judiciary shall not construe the spending of money to influence elections to be speech under the First Amendment.

        Section 3

        Nothing contained in this amendment shall be construed to abridge the freedom of the press.

        •  Thanks. Humblest apologies for missing that. n/t (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          joanneleon, Texknight, mikejay611

          "The human eye is a wonderful device. With a little effort, it can fail to see even the most glaring injustice." Richard K. Morgan

          by sceptical observer on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 08:55:23 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Due process? (11+ / 0-)

          Corporations and LLC's are not entitled to a constitutional right of due process of law before property is seized?  The ACLU can be shut down for whatever reason, without constitutional recourse?  That's the way I read it.  Am I wrong?  Who wrote this?

        •  I guess they could argue that (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          wasatch

          the typical due process protections could be extended via legislation rather than assumed as a constitutional guarantee?  

          Section 2 runs right back into the Citizens United problem of defining a line between issue-related speech and campaign expenditures.

          Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

          by pico on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 10:20:34 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Great (4+ / 0-)

            So my business can be confiscated by the government with a stroke of the pen? Brilliant, that should inspire confidence.

            (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
            Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

            by Sparhawk on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 10:53:22 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I'm not endorsing it: I'm trying to understand (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Adam B

              what its argument must be.  I think it's wrongheaded (see my comment below.)

              Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

              by pico on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 11:23:12 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  I don't think so... (11+ / 0-)

              Taking your property (your business) would potentially infringe your rights.  The purpose of the amendment (sec 1) is to remove inherent rights from corporations.

              Companys/businesses/corporations are a useful structures to hold all sorts of things -- money, property, employees, etc.  The difficulty started (1863? 62?) when they picked up personhood and the attendant constitutional rights as a short-hand way of allowing "them" to write contracts.  Prior to that they did not have a "life of their own" and the owners/operators of the businesses were the people that held rights and responsibilities.

              Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence. Conservatism is distrust of the people tempered by fear. ~William E. Gladstone, 1866

              by Jim Tietz on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 06:13:48 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Who is the "you" if the government, (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Jim Tietz, nextstep

                for example, performs an illegal search on a corporate computer?  The CEO?  The shareholder? The office worker who works on that computer?  The boss of that office worker?  More than one of those people?  Who is the warrant issued against?  Do they all get unique and separate opportunities to challenge the search in court? Conversely, if a corporation breaches contract with you, whom do you sue?  Any of these people?  All of them?  What about national corporations, where the breach was clearly initiated in your region, but the shareholder/CEO/whoever lives in another?  Who do you target with your lawsuit?

                There are some bad reasons to treat corporations as entities-unto-themselves, but there are good reasons, too.

                Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

                by pico on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 10:59:39 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I don't disagree there are good things, too (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  pico

                  I just think hanging the corporate edifice on constitutional rights of "we the people" is wrong.  There should be a separate body of work in the laws to enumerate corporate rights & responsibilities.

                  I know we'd always be dealing with a greased pig, but I'd be much more comfortable if corporations were only granted the rights that we give them on purpose.

                  Before that, of course, we'd also have to break their ability to write and pass their own laws!

                  Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence. Conservatism is distrust of the people tempered by fear. ~William E. Gladstone, 1866

                  by Jim Tietz on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 11:50:03 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

            •  your charter (9+ / 0-)

              Can be revoked under current law.  We stopped doing things like that a long time ago but we never repealed the government's power to do so.

              •  they should use it more often. (7+ / 0-)

                "We refuse to fight in a war started by men who refused to fight in a war." -freewayblogger

                by Bisbonian on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 07:03:39 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  While revocation may exist legally, (4+ / 0-)

                in practice the only route to the corporation being given a "death sentence" is bankruptcy.  If there's malfeasance, the corporate officers are usually swapped out, sometimes with a slap on the wrist.  The corp itself is held harmless.  The psychopathy inherent in corporate charters (nothing matters except shareholder returns) remains.

                Benefit corporations are one way to alter the corporate DNA to allow a wider consideration of value, but I don't think it does much relative to the possibilities for reparations... the enforcement of the additional stakeholder values would be subject to law suit, I guess.  Not sure, but I would think the suit would be similar to a shareholder suit now, but with a larger pool of people (the stakeholders) who could bring the suit.

                Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence. Conservatism is distrust of the people tempered by fear. ~William E. Gladstone, 1866

                by Jim Tietz on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 07:55:59 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  EXACTLY why this needs spelling-out (0+ / 0-)

                  I am a leaf on the wind - i hover, twirl, float,
                  Weightless, frictionless, I fly

                  by chmood on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 08:43:50 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  in earlier times (0+ / 0-)

                  Corporation charters had set sunset clauses.  They were also required to demonstrate some public good, or the state could revoke the charter.  Since the advent of Delaware being a rogue corporate state, this practice has gone by the wayside.  But it could be reinstated, just as the framers intended.  The current supreme court would likely uphold, since they are original intent fetishists.  Heh.  

            •  Depends on your business, but its happened before (0+ / 0-)

              I am a leaf on the wind - i hover, twirl, float,
              Weightless, frictionless, I fly

              by chmood on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 08:41:41 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  What kind of a company do you own? (0+ / 0-)

              You had to file for business licenses and they can be revoked already. How is that a confiscation?

              Really don't mind if you sit this one out. My words but a whisper -- your deafness a SHOUT. I may make you feel but I can't make you think..Jethro Tull

              by RMForbes on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 10:28:48 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Neither stated nor implied (0+ / 0-)

              Seriously DUDE. Take that concern garbage over to redstate.

              The "extreme wing" of the Democratic Party is the wing that is hell-bent on protecting the banks and credit card companies. ~ Kos

              by ozsea1 on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 12:13:52 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  That means that they could not be extended also. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Adam B, chmood

            So, Congress could extend them to favored entities, e.g. big business, but not to labor unions.

            Bad, bad law.

            The elevation of appearance over substance, of celebrity over character, of short term gains over lasting achievement displays a poverty of ambition. It distracts you from what's truly important. - Barack Obama

            by helfenburg on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 04:02:55 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Section 3, (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          rapala, ManhattanMan

          while striving to protect a right I hold dear, appears to me to open a hole you can drive a truck through.

          Every 4 years Karl Rove and friends (individual and corporate) open a "newspaper"--a blog site or chain of sites.  The "newspaper" will operate only 2 years and will have only one purpose--to publicize "news" about the campaign. They will also hire "sales reps" to drum up sales in a variety of "public meetings," ...  And we're off to the races.

          I don't know if foolproof wording is possible.  I really appreciate the effort.

        •  I don't know but seems overly broad and something (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Adam B, nextstep

          we could live to regret.  Be careful - labor unions will also be affected.

          The elevation of appearance over substance, of celebrity over character, of short term gains over lasting achievement displays a poverty of ambition. It distracts you from what's truly important. - Barack Obama

          by helfenburg on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 04:01:45 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Caution, methinks. (0+ / 0-)
          The judiciary shall not construe the spending of money to influence elections to be speech under the First Amendment.
          If this could even conceivably be construed as to violate Separation of Powers, this will be red meat for the rabid right wing of our Federal judiciary....

          Proponents of gun violence own guns. Opponents of gun violence do not own guns. What part of this do you not understand?

          by Liberal Panzer on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 07:04:04 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Is a marriage a legal entity? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Adam B, nextstep

          Like a partnership or a domestic partnership? How would that affect spousal privilege? This is not well thought out. As someone commented earlier, constitutional amendments should be narrowly written, to avoid unintended consequences.

        •  No. No. No. NO! (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Adam B, MGross, chmood, pico

          Section 2 of this Amendment basically repeals the 1st Amendment.

          Say I'm running for office. I buy (with my own money) a printer, some ink, and some paper and make 1,000,000 pamphlets. This Amendment allows the Government to shut me down!

          Read what is says: "...government shall regulate, limit, or prohibit contributions and expenditures, including a candidate’s own contributions and expenditures..."

          Travel to a town-hall meeting? Buy a suit to appear on TV? Buy web-ads? Print leaflets? All of these things cost money. Who determines how much you are allowed to spend? The incumbent politicians that you are running against.

          I am all for ending Corporate Person-hood and requiring disclosure. But like it or not, MONEY IS SPEECH.  That's just the way our 21st society is set up. You limit money, you limit speech.

          The way to stop elections from being bought is to require Public Financing. The problem is not that populist candidates get outspent. The problem is that they are not heard at all. Fixing that would go a long way towards solving the problem.

        •  Some missing bits, if you please (0+ / 0-)

          Section 4 - A 'corporation' in the sense of this amendment is an artificial entity, possessing those minimal rights of contract and property necessary for their role as agent for the corporate members, which is chartered by the people via their lawful representatives and which exists for the promotion of the general welfare of we, the people, who hold their charter.

          Section 5 - Acts of reckless disregard for or predatory behaviour toward the people shall always be sufficient grounds for the revocation of charter and dissolution of the corporate entity.

          Section 6 - The essential framework of chartering will be crafted from the web of law and precedent existing prior to 1850, and incorporated into the body of this text, prior to its final approval;  all state and local statutes, codes and/or ordinances in conflict with any part of this amendment are hereby rendered null and of no effect.

          I am a leaf on the wind - i hover, twirl, float,
          Weightless, frictionless, I fly

          by chmood on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 08:38:35 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  That was the temporary wording--the new wording is (0+ / 0-)

          Section 1. [Artificial Entities Such as Corporations Do Not Have Constitutional Rights]

          The rights protected by the Constitution of the United States are the rights of natural persons only.

          Artificial entities established by the laws of any State, the United States, or any foreign state shall have no rights under this Constitution and are subject to regulation by the People, through Federal, State, or local law.

          The privileges of artificial entities shall be determined by the People, through Federal, State, or local law, and shall not be construed to be inherent or inalienable.

          Section 2. [Money is Not Free Speech]

          Federal, State, and local government shall regulate, limit, or prohibit contributions and expenditures, including a candidate's own contributions and expenditures, to ensure that all citizens, regardless of their economic status, have access to the political process, and that no person gains, as a result of their money, substantially more access or ability to influence in any way the election of any candidate for public office or any ballot measure.

          Federal, State, and local government shall require that any permissible contributions and expenditures be publicly disclosed.

          The judiciary shall not construe the spending of money to influence elections to be speech under the First Amendment.

          https://movetoamend.org/...

          Are you a Green who has difficulty telling Democrats and Republicans apart? Well, I have difficulty telling Greens and Maoists apart.

          by Subversive on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 10:15:44 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  We release it tomorrow with Rep Pocan and Nolan. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      WisVoter, joanneleon, rapala
  •  Are corporations donating enough money to worry (12+ / 0-)

    about?

    Seems to me it was an individual (Adelson) who spent a couple hundred million vainly trying to get a GOPer elected.

    "The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason." - Thomas Paine

    by shrike on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 07:51:54 PM PST

    •  Winner. (9+ / 0-)

      You don't need to amend the Constitution; just heighten donor disclosure when 501c4s spend electorally.

    •  It's not just about the candidates (5+ / 0-)

      Many candidates may have overcome huge corporate spending by opponents, but the the ballot initiatives that would benefit people over corporations got slaughtered by big money funding, at least here in CA.

      It's much easier for candidates to raise money than for ballot initiatives to do so, esp. ones that favor people over big money like agri-business and big pharma.

      If "elitist" just means "not the dumbest motherfucker in the room", I'll be an elitist! - David Rees from "Get Your War On". //"Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest." - Denis Diderot

      by Oaktown Girl on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 11:47:17 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Make signature gathering required to be voluntary (0+ / 0-)

        Any compensation for gathering signatures should be illegal. Or nothing beyond perhaps a soft drink and a bag of chips.

        •  That doesn't really have anything to do with (0+ / 0-)

          corporations (PAC's) having bottomless money to spend on TV commercials and mailers crushing sound initiatives that benefit people over corporations and moneyed interests.

          What you're talking about seems more about addressing which initiatives get put on the ballot. But even then, what you're saying still favors big money, which can easily get around any such law about not paying signature gatherers.

          If "elitist" just means "not the dumbest motherfucker in the room", I'll be an elitist! - David Rees from "Get Your War On". //"Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest." - Denis Diderot

          by Oaktown Girl on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 01:21:49 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  The second paragraph renders the first (0+ / 0-)

    superfluous. If private money is abolished or regulated it doesn't matter who's it is. The real work is what kind of system do you want, total public funding and donated media access, etc. The clean elections/restoration of free speech movement, if reliant on an amendment fix rather than broadly aligned legislation applying checks and balances on the Court, will be defeated by a Court inventing a new version of separate but equal and a Congress whose jobs aren't at stake.

    •  yeah, but without the first section we couldnt (5+ / 0-)

      ban churches and other religious corporations or strip rights from planned parenthood.

      •  Seriously. (7+ / 0-)

        I'll hold off on seeing what the specific wording of the text is, but on the two general arguments above:

        1. I can't imagine anyone would want as blanket a statement of the first clause, which (e.g.) would allow the state to search and seize from companies without a warrant.  The courts have actually been pretty clear that not all individual rights apply to corporations, so any argument along these lines has to be more narrowly tailored;

        2. Without a clear and specific definition of "political campaign spending", the second clause is dangerously over-broad.  That was the main point of Citizens United, which for whatever reason people tend to ignore.

        Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

        by pico on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 08:37:37 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  its on the move to amend site and I happened (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Musial, Adam B, jrooth, ManhattanMan, pico

          to have seen it yesterday.  the gist is as follows:

          section 1: corps have no rights
          section 2: we can all political spending
          section 3: but! freedom of the press

          #3 doesn't mean what.they think it means, but you wonder what a court would say.  would they interpret it as the bona fide media exception that the drafters want it to be, or would it be read as the freedom to write & publish by anyone (including by the NRA, Citizens United, FreedomWorks, etc), which is what it actually says.

          after 225 years or so we've seen what happens when courts have to interpret badly drafted legal language.  one would'be thought they'd be a little more careful so they can avoid having authored the next inkblot.

      •  That which government creates (0+ / 0-)

        government is OBLIGATED to effectively regulate.

        the purpose of the second amendment is to promote a well-regulated militia, in the same sense that the purpose of the first amendment is to promote a well-informed electorate.

        by happymisanthropy on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 09:33:13 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Not sure silence is good (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ManhattanMan

      I for one am not sure silencing political views is a good idea.

      If we tell the Koch Bros. they cannot use their money to make public statements about how great the petroleum industry is, then aren't we also preventing Micheal Moore from making public statements about the evils of corporate greed?

      I myself think the proper fix for rich people using money to game the elections and win influence over law-makers is to pass a law saying that no candidate for public office can accept any private money, and to appropriate public funds to pay for all elections campaigns.  This also has the advantage of not requiring any change to the constitution - a difficult hurdle that may not work.

      "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

      by Hugh Jim Bissell on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 07:17:05 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  We need several Amendments (5+ / 0-)

    In addition to the two mentioned, I would like to see an Amendment creating a Right to Vote (and I would add in guidelines for Federal Elections and District Apportionent)

    at least these would be a good start, imho

    "It's never too late to have a happy childhood." - Tom Robbins - Political Compass sez: -8.25, -7.90

    by ARS on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 08:22:11 PM PST

  •  This proposal would overturn Roe v. Wade (0+ / 0-)

    I can't support this proposal because, the way it's worded, I could see SCOTUS ruling that fetuses and zygotes have the same legal rights as people, in effect, overturning Roe v. Wade.

    Friend of the Wisconsin Uprising from East Central Illinois! IL-15

    by DownstateDemocrat on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 08:23:38 PM PST

  •  Move To Amend is the real deal. (7+ / 0-)

    They started working on this about a week after the SCOTUS debacle of a decision. Major legal research work before first draft was even released. Building grassroots organizations in every state, getting cities (and hopefully entire states soon) to vote support. Fought a huge battle to get in front of the Senate committee to testify last July but were only allowed to submit for the record. Really encourage anyone interested in this cause to click through to their site.

    "I'm all dry, fluffed off and happy to be a hominid" - Bill Foster, scientist and new IL-11 Representative, when asked if he was fully evolved in support of gay marriage.

    by CoyoteMarti on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 08:33:41 PM PST

  •  I've got some issues with this approach (6+ / 0-)

    Neither of these deal with the actual basis upon which the CU ruling was made. CU did NOT introduce the idea that corporations are people---that was done almost 150 years ago. CU also did NOT introduce the idea that campaign contributions are "speech"--that was done around 40 years ago.

    What CU concluded was that the mere appearance of corruption or influence was not enough to justify regulating campaign contributions--you had to prove ACTUAL corruption or influence.  THAT is what needs to be reversed.

    The amendment uses a nuclear weapon where a flyswatter will do.  The broad approach here opens up a lot of things that should not be opened up.  If corporations are not "persons", then how will be able to sue them for unsafe products?  How will we fine them for environmental violations? Since corporations are specifically set up to REMOVE personal liability for the corporation's officers and stockholders, if we remove corporate personal liability too, then what's left? Who is responsible? Who pays the price for irresponsibility?

    I fear we are emotionally over-reacting and not thinking things through.

    But I also fear it won't matter anyway, since no such Constitutional Amendment will ever pass.  It is impossible to reform the system from within when the system doesn't want to be reformed.

    •  By the text still subject to legal action (0+ / 0-)

      They may be regulated which means that they must answer for their actions in court.  

      It is a Tzar Bomba and its slightly overkill but given all they have done to us, I can't argue for leniency.  

      It does not matter if the insiders want it reformed, it matters that they aren't the only ones who get to vote.  

      Under capitalism man exploits man, under communism the roles are reversed.

      by DavidMS on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 09:51:34 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  leniency no, effectiveness yes (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ricklewsive, mathGuyNTulsa

        I'm all in favor of kicking the corporados in the head.  Indeed, I'm all in favor of nationalizing them all and making them democratically-run public utilities.

        But I don't think this amendment will do what it intends to do, and will do much that it does NOT intend to do.

      •  legal action against WHO? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mathGuyNTulsa, ManhattanMan

        How can I sue a corporation after you've just declared they're not a "person"? Is there now a provision in the law for suing NON-persons? Can I now sue your dog if he bites me?

        It doesn't make a shred of sense.

        •  Before the Santa Clara County v Southern Pacific (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Bisbonian, TracieLynn

          decision, my understanding is that the people that ran the chartered companies were liable/responsible.  There are some knotty issues surrounding the so-called "corporate veil" that absolves the employees in many cases, but I don't think this amendment will leave you with no one to sue.

          (Despite my use of the word caveat, I'm not a lawyer.)

          Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence. Conservatism is distrust of the people tempered by fear. ~William E. Gladstone, 1866

          by Jim Tietz on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 06:29:37 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yup. Sue the CEO. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Jim Tietz, Subversive

            "We refuse to fight in a war started by men who refused to fight in a war." -freewayblogger

            by Bisbonian on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 07:05:44 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  but the corporation is where the money is (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Jim Tietz

              The CEO of GM makes $7.7 million, but GM's assets are $155 billion.

              Also, it is far more effective to hurt the corporation than just the CEO.  If you take the CEO's $7 million, he leaves and is replaced by somebody else (and the most anyone can get from the company is the sum total of the salary, which is a drop in the bucket compared to GM's assets). The corporation barely notices, and nothing changes.  But if you sue the CORPORATION and take, say, $75 billion of its assets, that they WILL notice---will HURT them, and prevent them from doing again whatever it is they've done.

              •  Oh, I agree. Sue them both...because the (0+ / 0-)

                individual responsible for the wrongs should pay, too.

                "We refuse to fight in a war started by men who refused to fight in a war." -freewayblogger

                by Bisbonian on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 09:44:58 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  but therein is the problem . . . . (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Jim Tietz

                  If the corporation is not a "person" in and of itself, then how can anyone sue it? Or even tax it? There is no provision in law for suing non-persons.

                  •  "no provision in law" (0+ / 0-)

                    It would be a bit of an undertaking, but couldn't the rights and responsibilities of such entities be enumerated in law, rather than being inferred through some connection-of-convenience between corporations and natural human rights as provided for constitutionally?

                    I'd be more comfortable if they only had the rights assigned to them.  Not that they couldn't write themselves any law they want as is practiced now... I'm looking for what the goal should be once these creations are reigned in.

                    Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence. Conservatism is distrust of the people tempered by fear. ~William E. Gladstone, 1866

                    by Jim Tietz on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 10:49:37 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

          •  I'm not a lawyer either, but I think your (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Jim Tietz, Adam B

            understanding is incorrect.  The very purpose of the legal corporate structure is to remove personal liability from the corporate officers and stockholders. That has been true, I believe, from day one of the first corporate charter. If it were not, there's no reason for anyone to forma  corporation.

            •  Referencing wikipedia is thin ice, but (0+ / 0-)

              here is a section from the article on "corporate personhood".

              Beginning in the 1870s, however, corporate lawyers, following the reasoning of the Dartmouth College case and other precedents (see below, Case law in the United States), argued that corporations could exercise the rights of their shareholders and these shareholders were entitled to some of the legal protections against arbitrary state action.
              The history before that was messy, but charters were granted by the states (and later, initiated by individual citizens) to allow things like operating a monopoly or raise vast sums of capital. (Think railroads.)  Until they brought in the 14th amendment into the arguments, there were no inherent rights that accrued to the corporations.

              Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence. Conservatism is distrust of the people tempered by fear. ~William E. Gladstone, 1866

              by Jim Tietz on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 08:07:40 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  looking back historically, it seems that the US (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Jim Tietz, chmood

                routinely granted "limited liability" in corporate charters all the way back to the first days of the Republic.

                From Corporatepolicy.org:

                Limited Liability in the United States

                Limited liability was routinely granted to corporations as far back as the early 18th century. Davis (1917) notes that only one company, the Hamilton Manufacturing Society, chartered in New York in 1797, was refused this privilege.

                http://www.corporatepolicy.org/...

                This was about 100 years before Santa Clara granted "personhood".

                So it is not clear to me how repealing "personhood" simultaneously repeals "limited liability".

                •  There is a qualitative difference (0+ / 0-)

                  If the limited liability is written into the charter (or other law or statute), it has to pass inspection on granting the charter.  It would also be subject to later law suits under a different status than a constitutionally guaranteed, inherent right.

                  Nice link, btw.  Skimming that reference also brought out the point for me that limited liability is most often a protection for the investors:

                  Thus, limited liability refers to the fact that outside investors (versus active participants) can pool their capital in new ventures without worrying that they might lose their entire worth.
                  They go on to talk about how this only benefits large companies, since small business owners are usually participants.

                  If someone wants to exempt a railroad from lawsuits for dead cattle that wandered onto the tracks, so be it.  The blanket corporate veil that results from personhood is a much more difficult beast to manage in that it becomes the presumptive right.

                  Any constitutional lawyers out there that want to chime it?

                  (Thanks, Lenny, for the interesting discussion.)

                  Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence. Conservatism is distrust of the people tempered by fear. ~William E. Gladstone, 1866

                  by Jim Tietz on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 09:28:06 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

    •  Won't pass? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Nada Lemming, ManhattanMan

      This issue polls at 85%, uniting the left with the right with the fringes with the middle.  In town after town after town, people are voting that they want this done.  It's undeniable that money is corrupting politics, and Move To Amend is he loudest, clearest, surest response.

      Are you a Green who has difficulty telling Democrats and Republicans apart? Well, I have difficulty telling Greens and Maoists apart.

      by Subversive on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 04:54:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Great I bet it passes in a snap, well maybe two. (0+ / 0-)
  •  While Rick Nolan is my Rep... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sny, ManhattanMan

    ... and I'm glad he's at least thinking about all of this, I'd feel much more comfortable if he were working with Senator Bernie Sanders to get Citizens United overturned.

    This proposed Amendment is mixing two different SCOTUS rulings (giving corporations personhood, and making money a free speech issue) to try to overturn both.  While commendable, they need to make the language simpler and more absolute.

    Section I seems pretty good on its own.

    Section II needs to be reworded.

    This has a loophole big enough to fly a super-tanker through:
    Federal, State and local government shall require that any permissible contributions and expenditures be publicly disclosed.
    What's NOT a "permissible" contribution?  Seems to me pretty much everything is already "permissible."

    I fail to see the meaning of Section III or why it's there.  Corporations already control freedom of the press (via print, TV, radio), and they have a monopoly on what news gets released to the public.  Didn't we all learn those lessons after 9/11 and the spread of lies to gin up this nation for an illegal and unconstitutional war, which turned into two illegal and unconstitutional wars and twisted logic redefining torture...?  We get a lot of infotainment as is, and very little "hard news" with just the facts without umpteen invented "sides of truth" for "balance."  Media is unwilling to rock the boat with going after their corporate friends via their corporate media empires.

    Truth doesn't have "sides."  To quote myself from a letter several months ago:  "Facts do not require fiction or uninformed opinions for balance."

    I'd say leave that third section out.  It's a self-evident provision in the First Amendment so that third section of the proposed amendment is unnecessary.

    I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

    by NonnyO on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 04:03:59 AM PST

    •  2 separate issues, you hit it (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ManhattanMan, NonnyO

      Thats my problem with the amendment (as stated here) too. I agree both with getting rid of corporate citizenhood (Section 1) and campaign finance restrictions (Section 2). However, mixing the 2 together makes it seem more like a meaningless message rather than a serious attempt at reform.

      From a practical perspective, now you get the enemies of both parts against the amendment - as it is, its pretty close to impossible to get a non-right-wing amendment passed today, and now you probably also have some left wing critics of Section 2 against it.  

      I wish the proposed amendment only includes Section 1, with a separate amendment for 2 if really desired. Then the laws establishing corporations would explicitly have to state rights granted to them, instead of the other way around as the current court believes.

  •  They need to heed Jefferson... (5+ / 0-)

    ... the original author of the Constitution (which is an eminently understandable document that uses simple language that the average person with a grade school education for his day and age could understand):

    Laws are made for men of ordinary understanding and should, therefore, be construed by the ordinary rules of common sense. Their meaning is not to be sought for in metaphysical subtleties which may make anything mean everything or nothing at pleasure.
     ~ Thomas Jefferson
    The big problem with 99.99% of modern legislation (and 100% of all speeches by all politicians) is legal loopholes, and imprecise, vague, and/or convoluted language using pretzel logic (like making waterboarding into something that was not torture when it's been defined as torture for hundreds of years) that can mean everything or nothing.  [Obama is a master of speaking many words which mean whatever the listener wants them to mean so there are many "interpretations" of playing eleven levels of chess.  I noticed that in the first campaign and he's only perfected his vague speeches since then.  What people think he said vs what he actually said are several entirely different things.]

    Go back and re-read the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.  Elementary language, all easily understood by any average person with only an average education.

    Jefferson was also correct about corporations, even clear back then:

    I hope that we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country.
     ~ Thomas Jefferson

    I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

    by NonnyO on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 04:22:34 AM PST

  •  If this is going to have any chance at all (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nada Lemming, Words In Action

    in getting past the oligarchs in Congress, it's going to need massive public outreach.  I would bet 90% of voters would agree with the aims of this, but without some kind of outreach, it will be twisted and spun into "TYRANNY" so that the rubes on the right will oppose it against their own interests, as they are wont to do.

    "Give to every other human being every right that you claim for yourself." - Robert G. Ingersoll

    by Apost8 on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 05:54:48 AM PST

  •  Doesnt go far enough. Congress must still regulate (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nada Lemming, ManhattanMan

    corporate political money under the terms described above.

    We need an amendment that bans corporate campaign contributions, not merely allows congress to regulate it.

  •  I see Overbreadth problems (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Adam B
  •  What was once public will become private. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Words In Action

    The fundamental purpose of a government is to protect people from unregulated privateers (i.e. thieves etc.), who would steal the property and rights of citizens. The public property and rights being stolen in this case (other than public infrastructure) is the constitutional right to contribution-free representation (i.e. nothing in the constitution about having to privately contribute to lawmakers to be represented), but as long as there’s unlimited (and undisclosed) money going to lawmakers (or used on their behalf, and it remains legal for lawmakers to accept this money directly or indirectly), thieves will effectively use governments to assist them in their thievery, dictating legislation to lawmakers in exchange for their sponsorship.
    Imperialism/Feudalism is the result. What was once public will become private. The results of this privatized political infrastructure will be privatized public infrastructure, including privatized transportation infrastructure, an expansion of private toll-roads, private. toll-bridges (which will devolve into private toll-ferries, due to diminished tax-bases caused by lowered living standards within the general population).
    No better recipe for another dark age could be thought up than to allow unlimited and undisclosed money going to lawmakers (or used on their behalf).

  •  Not a great way to start your sales job... (0+ / 0-)

    ...for this Amendment:

    How different would the outcome of the 2012 elections be absent Citizen’s United? It would not be very different.
    No one votes for an Amendment to the Constitution because things wouldn't be different if you solved the problem the Amendment is trying to fix.

    This page needs a rewrite, stat.

    The road to Hell is paved with pragmatism.

    by TheOrchid on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 07:32:42 AM PST

  •  Honestly? (0+ / 0-)

    While I hate the Citizens United ruling, all it did was make us more annoyed with political ads than we already are. Yes donations should be completely transparent and the information made immediately available. Yes the ads should not be treated as political speech, but ads like anything else. False advertising should be punitive.

    BUT...I think more useful things would be to remove the ability to gerrymander and reform voting so that no party is in control of the elections commissions.

    Of course, I would also put the burden of enabling a filibuster in the Senate on the minority party and reinstate the talking filibuster, not to mention passing laws with 51 votes instead of the 60 vote nonsense.

    A boy can dream...

    "I chose to change facts, reality, and the meaning of words, in order to make a much larger point." - Paul Ryan John Oliver

    by SC Lib on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 08:04:58 AM PST

  •  It is not companies or people (0+ / 0-)

    It's the level of disclosure.  

    There are many issues with an amendment such as this.   Companies in some senses are treated as things with their own rights, and they do so with real purpose - if it wasn't that way it would be hard to tax them separately, to manage their legal liability, etc.

    As phrased at the website and mentioned above, this would give government action against a company incredible powers which could be devastating.

    The real play here is legislatively on one level, but to require that all donations and means be completely documented to avoid shadowy giving.

    This is an issue that's going to be pretty complex for a while

    Gandhi's Seven Sins: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Commerce without morality; Science without humanity; Worship without sacrifice; Politics without principle

    by Chris Reeves on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 08:06:24 AM PST

  •  Absolutely not. (0+ / 0-)

    I'm not voting to curtail the First Amendment.  Period.

    •  You think it should be legal to shout "fire!" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RMForbes

      in a theater?

      I mean, really, you sound like one of those Second Amendment nuts. I'm all for freedom of speech, but I can allow for exceptions, such as the one I mentioned. Also, allowing corporations and the wealthy to corrupt government under the guise of free speech is unconscionable.

      The Class, Terror and Climate Wars are indivisible and the short-term outcome will affect the planet for centuries. -WiA "When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill..." - PhilJD

      by Words In Action on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 09:57:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  How is this curtailing the 1st Amendment? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Subversive

      Companies are legal fictions and the owners still have their rights to participate freely and speak on a level field with all the rest of us.  

      Really don't mind if you sit this one out. My words but a whisper -- your deafness a SHOUT. I may make you feel but I can't make you think..Jethro Tull

      by RMForbes on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 10:36:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Pretending money is speech, then it is a specific (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Words In Action, RMForbes

    type of speech, which would be "an incitement to corruption." But money ain't really speech; else speech would be money. I told my landlord "consider yourself paid," but he didn't.


    We live in a nation where doctors destroy health; lawyers, justice; universities, knowledge; governments, freedom; the press, information; religion, morals; and our banks destroy the economy. -- Chris Hedges

    by Jim P on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 09:15:46 AM PST

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