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FSP -- General Discussion => Prospective Participants => Topic started by: max on May 27, 2003, 01:59:36 pm

Title: Corporation's in a free state
Post by: max on May 27, 2003, 01:59:36 pm
 
Jefferson Was Right.

 

By Dr. Michael P. Byron

 

Most Americans don’t know it but Thomas Jefferson, along with James Madison worked assiduously to have an 11th Amendment included into our nation’s original Bill of Rights.  This proposed Amendment would have prohibited “monopolies in commerce.” The amendment would have made it illegal for corporations to own other corporations, or to give money to politicians, or to otherwise try to influence elections.  Corporations would be chartered by the states for the primary purpose of “serving the public good.” Corporations would possess the legal status not of natural persons but rather of “artificial persons.”  This means that they would have only those legal attributes which the state saw fit to grant to them.  They would NOT; and indeed could NOT possess the same bundle of rights which actual flesh and blood persons enjoy.  Under this proposed amendment neither the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution, nor any provision of that document would protect the artificial entities known of as corporations.  

 

Jefferson and Madison were so insistent upon this amendment because the American Revolution was in substantial degree a revolt against the domination of colonial economic and political life by the greatest multinational corporation of its age: the British East India Company.  After all who do you think owned the tea which Sam Adams and friends dumped overboard in Boston Harbor?  Who was responsible for the taxes on commodities and restrictions on trade by the American colonists?  It was the British East India Company, of course.  In the end the amendment was not adopted because a majority in the first Congress believed that already existing state laws governing corporations were adequate for constraining corporate power. Jefferson worried about the growing influence of corporate power until his dying day in 1826. Even the more conservative founder John Adams came to harbor deep misgivings about unchecked corporate power.

 

A few years after Jefferson’s unsuccessful attempt to incorporate this amendment into the Bill of Rights, the fourth Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court, John Marshall, unilaterally asserted the Court’s right to judicial review in the seminal case of Marbury v. Madison in 1803.  In practice this meant that the Supreme Court would have sole and unchecked power to determine what the Constitution meant.  Jefferson was aghast.  His fear lay in the knowledge that an unelected branch of government, one which is not subject to the will of the citizens, and is effectively immune from check by the two elected branches of government (Only one Supreme Court Justice has ever been impeached—none have ever been convicted and removed) was now solely responsible for determining the meaning of the Constitution. The meaning of the Constitution, and hence the very nature of our political system, was now in the hands of an unelected and effectively uncontrollable body.  â€œThe Constitution has become a thing of wax to be molded as the Court sees fit” Jefferson lamented.

 

In 1886 Jefferson’s twin Constitutional nightmares collided in a train wreck which has effectively derailed true democracy in this nation and indeed across the globe as other nations have either copied our unfortunate example, or have fallen under the dominion of our multinational corporations—or both..  The precipitating event was the case of Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad.  This case is cited to the present day as having conferred the status of “natural” as opposed to “artificial” personhood upon American corporations.  In fact the Supreme Court declined to rule on the issue.  J.C. Bancroft Davis, the Clerk of the Court, an attorney, who curiously was also a former railroad company PRESIDENT, used his position to simply write this conclusion into the head notes which summarized the case.  Ever since this fateful event; this sleight-of-hand rewriting of the Constitution, corporations have had the status of “actual” persons whose rights are fully protected by the Constitution.  It was a coup against democracy which succeeded because there were no real external checks and balances on the Court, and because the Court itself chose not to act to repudiate Davis’ rewriting of the Constitution.  The thing stood.  Precedent was established.  Jefferson’s “thing of wax” nightmare had come to pass.

 

Consider the implications: Actual flesh and blood persons are indeed all roughly equal in overall attributes.  But a corporation can possess MILLIONS of times greater resources than does any “natural” person, or even a group of such persons.  Neither labor unions, nor any other category of “special interest” group possesses this attribute of personhood and so they too are fundamentally and intrinsically unable to compete against corporate “persons.”

 

To make a long and sad story short: The concentrated power of corporate persons has overwhelmed our democratic system.  The unsound decisions of our unchecked and unbalanced Supreme Court have handed the “keys to the Kingdom” over to our corporate overlords.  An analogy with an AIDS infection is instructive: After 1886, our democratic “immune system” resisted Davis’ corporate personhood infection of our national body politic by deploying the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, the Progressive Movement, the Labor Movement, and the New Deal.  All of these bought time.  But now, in the era of global mega-corporations, after a long struggle, our “democratic immune system” is finally being overwhelmed.  Democracy, rule of, by, and for the people, is dying in America.

 

Contemporary America is a nation almost wholly under the dominion of plutocratically wealthy, corporate quarterly-profit über alles overlords.  A seamless web of corporate power connects our multinational corporations with our mass media—now almost wholly owned by a handful of mega-corporations.  This military-industrial-media complex largely determines which politicians will and will not get elected.  Thus they control the government. They control access to money as well as determine how a candidate will be presented to the viewers.  The very policies that our “elected” officials are “allowed” to espouse are rigorously circumscribed: Remember Clinton’s national healthcare proposals?  Our media will never tell us that every other developed nation on Earth has universal health care for their citizens.  Arguably, our corporate media has seen to it that the average American is as brainwashed as is say, the average citizen of North Korea. Our primary role in this atrocious system is simply to consume.  We are consumers, corporate subjects, not citizens.  Under this materialistic system our lives are devoid of deep meaning as we are conditioned to work ever harder and go ever deeper in debt to accumulate ever more useless junk as though if we just piled up enough of this crap we would somehow, magically, become happy.

 

What is to be done?  Let’s open our eyes and admit that the emperor has no clothes.  Let’s admit that our democratic, constitutional, system was derailed more than a century ago.  Until we return power to the hands of flesh and blood citizens EXCLUSIVELY, until corporations are summarily striped of “personhood”, until this legal obscenity is abolished, we can have no real freedom, democracy cannot flourish.  Furthermore, to ensure that the will of the people is respected and reigns supreme, all members of our federal judiciary must face periodic reelection by the citizens—just as is the case for our judiciary here in California.  Until and unless these things come to pass we cannot be a free people.  Because we are fundamentally NOT a free people, because our ability to act and to build freely upon our inspirations is constrained by corporate forces beyond our present control, we cannot live up to our full potentials as human beings. Once these goals are accomplished there shall be such an explosion of innovation in economic and political and scientific entrepreneurship as to make Periclean Athens seem timid. It’s up to each of us to act NOW.  Freedom itself hangs in the balance.



 http://www.byronforcongress.org/pages/Jefferson%20Was%20Right.htm

 Where do members of the FSP stand on the corporate/political machine?

comments please .......
Title: Re:Corporation's in a free state
Post by: SN Porc on May 27, 2003, 04:22:20 pm
Just to comment on the Corporate Influence/Domination in the USA here is a commentary from Arab News by Nicolas Buchele


Neo-Totalitarianism
Nicolas Buchele, Arab News Staff
Published on 19 March 2003

JEDDAH, 19 March 2003 — The person of the US president is an irrelevance. To
appeal to George W. Bush — amusing character though he may be — is like berating
a broom for omitting to sweep in the corners.
The new totalitarianism prevailing in America and taking hold in its satellites
around the world has learned important lessons from the failed experiments of
the past. The first of these lessons is that the greatest liability to the
survival of a regime is a strong and erratic leader.
A point often made in history classes is that Hitler should have stopped at Kiev
instead of thinning out his eastern front to move on toward Moscow.
Thus without Hitler’s deranged ambitions, the Third Reich might really have
lasted a thousand years. Similarly, if Stalin had kept his genocidal ambitions
in check, the Soviet Union might have continued to enjoy its initial popularity
among sections of the West and at home.
With these examples in mind, the leader has been eliminated as a factor in US
politics. George W. Bush’s very nullity as a politician throws into relief the
fact that the US has long been governed, not by its people, but by interests
that are happy to remain largely anonymous, do not rely on individuals for their
hold on power, and are recognizable in public mainly by a soothing corporate
blue.
Americans often seem baffled that others fail to admire their system of
government. They know after all that in the US there exists a lively culture of
debate, where the whole lunatic spectrum of opinion can find a platform of one
kind or another (though at the same time the difference between the political
parties it is actually possible to elect is vanishingly small).
They have a vibrant and largely unchecked artistic community. They have the
first amendment.
Even Greg Palast, at the end of his expose of corporate power The Best Democracy
Money Can Buy, found himself heartened by the American culture of customer
complaint, the notion that you have enforceable rights and can sue for them in a
court of law. This is, after all, the nation that gave us the concept of “animal
rights.”
Hollywood is happy to feed this perception by producing blockbusters like Erin
Brockovitch and The Insider, where ordinary people take on corporations and win,
in other words, films which, by seeming to challenge, actually affirm the
existing order.
The reason for all this is that the new totalitarianism has learned a second
lesson from its heavy-handed predecessors. If artists and intellectuals were
able to do precisely nothing about Hitler or Stalin or any of the legion of
tin-pot dictators around the world, it follows that you might as well have
freedom of expression.
In the new totalitarian system, people can say whatever they like, and it makes
absolutely no difference.
The impending war on Iraq is only one example among many of a supposedly
sovereign public completely powerless in the face of a government bent on a
course of action.
That this should surprise some people outside America is odd. Proponents of the
enlightened self-interest of nations like the late Alan Clark MP — who argued
that it would have been better for Britain’s imperial status if it had signed a
peace with Hitler in 1941 — have long held that nations do not have morals.
They have interests. Thus the idea clogging up the editorial pages of American
papers that people ought to be grateful to the US is childish. Alliances are
formed where the interests of nations coincide or where one nation expects to
take advantage of another.
In other words, America has never been a moral guardian to the rest of the
world, and it would be peculiar to expect it to be. It has simply more astutely
safeguarded its interests, except where it has allowed its interests to become
distorted in countries like Vietnam. But these blunders have long been
rectified.
The neo-conservative writer P.J. O’Rourke some years ago said the Americans had
won the Vietnam war, and so they have — if not the one they were fighting.
Vietnam is now in all but name a busy capitalist country, and no doubt the
better for it as far as its long-suffering people are concerned.
On the whole, however, annexation by mostly carrot and a little stick has worked
best, and the US has avoided the limitless aggression that proved the downfall
of old-style regimes.
Many more obvious US satellites in Southeast Asia and elsewhere have benefited
from the ties that bind them and are evolving comparable pseudo-democratic
systems.
The middle-class subjects of these satellites would be foolish to prefer their
country to be differently aligned, and to the slum-dwellers it doesn’t matter
either way. This practically guarantees a stable dependency on the motherland,
which an invasion could never have achieved.
The most important lesson to the new totalitarianism, then, comes from ancient
Rome, and is simply that people sufficiently supplied with bread and games will
put up with anything.
It may seem strange that a system that has been working so well both at home and
abroad should so blatantly rattle the saber and polish the jackboot, but for
this we may have to thank Al-Qaeda.
In Blowback, his study of American imperialism, Chalmers Johnson points out that
the intention of terrorists is among other things to provoke a disproportionate
reaction in the enemy and goad it into revealing itself as the brute it is,
thereby forfeiting public sympathy.
Alternatively, it could be that the fruits of a takeover of Iraq are too juicy
to pass up and difficult to get hold of by any other means. In either case, this
will be a passing phase, and the current preponderance of stick in US
international policy will in good time make way for more ample carrot.
But by improving on its predecessor, the US has not abandoned the essential
ingredients of the totalitarian state.
These include a powerful propaganda machine — America’s is the most
comprehensive and sophisticated in history — centered around a few simple,
powerful symbols which, though in themselves meaningless, are nonetheless, in
old-fashioned parlance, taboo. It remains an offense to “desecrate” the flag.
They also include a public rhetoric so far removed from ordinary speech as to
constitute practically a separate language and whose intended effect is
essentially to baffle; and control mechanisms that are not so much seen as felt,
as evidenced by the wide-ranging official and unofficial powers given to US
intelligence organizations.
The question remains whether overall there is anything wrong with an endlessly
adaptable, stable system of world government that keeps the majority of its
subjects happy or at least comfortable.
And once technology has solved the problem of cheap labor, there will probably
be nothing wrong with it. Only we mustn’t call it democracy.




Copyright © 2003 ArabNews All Rights Reserved.
Title: Re:Corporation's in a free state
Post by: pstudier on May 27, 2003, 04:25:15 pm
Do you have the text of this alleged 11 amendment of the bill of rights?


The Constitution Society has this list of the 12 proposed amendments of the bill of rights: http://www.constitution.org/billofr_.htm

Eleven have been ratified, the most recent is the 27th, proposed in 1789 and ratified in 1992!
Title: Re:Corporation's in a free state
Post by: WeHoldTheseTruths on May 28, 2003, 12:48:43 am
The problem with big businesses is that they are often the ones pushing for laws to shut their smaller competitors out.

Take any number of regulations in any number of industries, the net effect is to make it too expensive for the small guy to compete and too hard for new players to get into the market once they've solidified their monopoly.

Now, I'm not saying there should be a law against big corporations, just that there should be no laws giving them special rights, nowhere near the rights they have now as "sovereign entities" in and of themselves, with corporeal rights even dwarfing those that we mere mortals have.

Ending corporate welfare would be a great first step.  Whatever "commerce vacuum" big corporations may leave in their wake should they choose to leave the Free State could be filled by smaller start-ups and other alternatives, IMHO.
Title: Re:Corporation's in a free state
Post by: max on May 28, 2003, 02:22:44 am
pstudier -  I was not the author of this article but would also like to read this alleged 11 amendment. Anyone have a clue on where to find the source of info stated.

WeHoldTheseTruths - I agree ending corporate welfare would be a good start.

 I think a lot of the reason our freedoms are in the state they are in today is directly related to a combination of corporate / big money special interest and religious groups pressure. I think that the mentality that the "Business of America is Business" is way out of control and taken to an extreme. I don't think freedom can be restored and government made smaller unless "the people" are calling the shots. Our government was  not created to be  by and fore the business people. The question is how can we have good healthy business for our prosperity and yet retain control by the people. I hope someone can dig up the 11th amendment that Thomas Jefferson, and  James Madison were working on. It might be a good time now to enact it.
Title: Re:Corporation's in a free state
Post by: BobW on May 28, 2003, 04:35:32 am
Hi Max,

I'm not a member of the FSP but do ask to comment on Dr Michael P. Byron's article.

I've no problem with the thrust of his position but am lost as to his desire to ditch corporations.  The British East India Company was over 250 years old before taken over by the government.  How could a proprietorship or partnership compete without indefinite life?  

It's a lot worse now because of foreign government's State Trading Companies.  Eg, when Morrison Knudson, Boise, went in partners to work a certain mine, they negotiated with a foreign government agency.   Now, I know the whole corporate system is as corrupted as can be (and not just the public corps), but what else could substitute?

I do challenge the author ref his "every other developed nation on Earth has universal health care for their citizens."  The official organizational charts and the reality don't mesh.

BobW
Title: Re:Corporation's in a free state
Post by: BobW on May 28, 2003, 04:54:22 am
H We Hold,

You said it clearer than me.  The corps push laws and regs to minimize competition.  It's not new; just perfected.

Look at the Americans With Disabilities Act.  What small company can let a couple of people leave the workplace to an extended period?

Look at the Soldiers and Sailors Relief Act.  Here also, small companies can't compete against the power house large corps.

Handicapped access is now national law in the US for hotels.  How did the small, undercapitalized place handle this? In large trends, they went away.

What small company can participate in hearings after  a proposed rule is published in the Federal Register?  Here, also, under the pretext of full participation, the events are predictable.

The above examples have exceptions but the overall trend works to the advantage of the politically connected.

I follow the corporate welfare aspects of the world trade community.  One project is to drastically reduce the Export-Import Bank while allowing former participants to get "tax holidays" (Politicos, please excuse this expression) to get the government out of birthday gifts for friends.

I believe the folks at WyomingBusiness.org are receptive to letting miners be miners and lumberjacks be lumberjacks, rather than the current - and collapsing - let's let middle America support us.

BobW
Title: Re:Corporation's in a free state
Post by: Aaron on May 28, 2003, 02:54:09 pm
Posted by: BobW
Quote
I've no problem with the thrust of his position but am lost as to his desire to ditch corporations.  The British East India Company was over 250 years old before taken over by the government.  How could a proprietorship or partnership compete without indefinite life?  

I read an article in a newsletter several months ago that addressed this issue.  When I get all of my stuff out of storage, I will dig it up so I can credit the source of my information properly; but from memory, here is the basic gist:

Max is correct in stating that the American Revolution was much more of a revolt against the East India Company than it was a revolt against the government of the British Empire.  What has clouded the issue over the centuries is that the members of parliament as well as British royalty were the primary investors and beneficiaries of the East India company.  Their modus operandi was exactly the same as the huge conglomerates of modern times.  First, they promised the wealthy members of the British government huge profits in exchange for their investments.  Then, those members of the state passed laws and regulations essentially forbidding competition thus guaranteeing continued profits.  Then, any group that dared to oppose the East India Company had, by proxy,  the armed forces of the British Empire to deal with.  The article buried in my storage unit actually gave specific examples of earlier uprisings around the world that were easily quashed by the mighty Redcoats.  These never made it into our history books because of how quickly all of their proponents were killed.

The parallels between the symbiotic relationship between the British government and the East India company, and the relationship between our modern state and big business is clear.  Our current administration is almost synonymous with big oil.  Finacial ties between members of our federal government and other industries such as pharmaceuticals, agri-business (meat packing, dairy factories, etc.), manufacturing, et al can be easily researched.  Worst of all, IMO, is the sector that makes this all possible:  the military-industrial complex.

In addition to all of this corruption by design, we have now witnessed unintended consequences of the rise of worlwide corporate domination.  Enron, Worldcom, and all of the recent scandals would not be possible under the unpassed anti-corporation amendment.

To return to Bob's original question quoted above, the desire was not to outlaw business entities with indefinite life completely.  Jefferson's main concept was that such non-physical entities should should never be granted the FULL BUNDLE of rights as a flesh and blood human individual.  Two of the most important features of the proposed amendment (at least as they apply to modern times) are these:

1.  Corporations could only be formed to do business in one specific industry.  

The purpose of this was to prevent the type of vertical integration that was eventually achieved by such corporations as Standard Oil.  Drilling, shipping, refining, and retail sales would have to involve at least four different corporations.  Considering the abuses of power that Standard Oil and other similar conglomerates practiced, maybe such a restriction would have been a good thing.

2.  No corporation would be allowed to own another corporation.

Do I really need to mention Enron again to explain the purpose of this?  The only reasons I have been able to discern for a corporation to own another corporation is for those who already have money to make sure they don't lose it (even if they make bad business decisions) and to continue to make more money without really producing anything to earn it.

I realise that the dismantling of the corporate/state symbiosis is a gordian knot of gargantuan proportion that does not lend itself to an Alexandrian solution.  However, if we do not keep in mind that these are the motives of the forces we oppose, and these are the means by which they stay in power; we will continue to underestimate what those who oppose freedom are willing to do to stay in power.  (As the LP has done for decades.)  Our situation is all the more dire than that of our forefathers because of the control the state has over the media.  I do not mean the type of direct control that goes on in totalitarian regimes that actually outlaw the free press.  The shareholders of the East India Company could never have dreamed of the level of deception, misdirection, and misinformation that modern statists use to control the philosophical climate of our culture.  (George Orwell imagined it, though.  Unfortunately, while he provided us with a prescient warning of our dire circumstances, he did not provide a bluprint for extricating ourselves from our predicament.)

With that said, I do not think we are doomed to failure.  It says FSP Member by my name, doesn't it?  These issues deal mainly with the statists at the federal level.  The beauty of the FSP, IMO, is that we seek to gain a foothold of freedom while ignoring federal concerns.  By focusing our efforts on local politics, we can create a beacon of freedom without directly threatening the global power structure.  Others have posted on this forum that achieving freedom requires not just political change but a cultural change as well.  They are exactly right.  With a concrete example for the world to see, we can begin to change the fundamental philosophy of our culture toward a love of TRUE freedom.  Whereas our forefathers' struggle was a physical one, ours is an intellectual one.  This, by the way,  is why the FSP could only come into exsistence as (mainly) an internet project.  The internet is the great equalizer in the dissemination of information and ideas.  Considering the entrenchment of institutionalized media, the ultimate goal of achieving a truly free society will not be possible without it.
Title: Re:Corporation's in a free state
Post by: BobW on May 28, 2003, 03:35:21 pm
Hi Aaron,

I completely agree to even say it wasn't an American revolution but really a civil war.  Pitt, Fox, Burke and the rest of the Whigs supported the American colonialists.

I posted here, somewhere, the key section of Eisenhower's farewell speech ref his "military-industrial complex" warning.

Still, how could a US corp survive with the restrictions mentioned.  The new British East India Companies are multiindustry, vertically and sometimes horizontally intergrated, heavily protected by local laws, subsidized by government and held to looser type legal standards.  Recall the old joke "The British knight their captains of industry,  The Americans indict them."

If a US corp could not own a corp, they'd be uncompetitive.  

Personally, I see the situation even worse than described above.

I understand what you mean by media control.  

Somewhere here in one of my posts, I mentioned C. Itoh (USA) Ltd, (believe of Gardena, Calif) .  It's a US corp with an obvious Japanese parent.  This is the competition.

We are discussing much more than a 4 generationsl timetable I envisioned.

BobW
Title: Re:Corporation's in a free state
Post by: max on May 29, 2003, 10:35:10 am
Hi, Thanks for all your input on this important topic. I posted another article  below written by a businessman. I also sent an e-mail to Dr. Byron author of the first article I posted. I asked if he could provide to me or post in person any info and the text on the 11th amendment he spoke about in his article.

"Corporism: The Systemic Disease that Destroys Civilization."  
 
Huge corporations now control America's body politic by reason of their bald-faced purchases of the three branches of the American government and America's major media.  
 
by Ken Reiner: kreiner@earthlink.net

05/09/03: I view the continuing growth of corporate power and its despotic control of governments throughout the world, including our own, as a socio-economic disease.  While Mussolini and others named it "Fascism," I call it "Corporism" because that name better reveals its underlying institutional structure.  I would define Corporism as the domination of government and society by the emergence and power of the giant publicly-traded multinational corporations and financial institutions, organized in totalitarian hierarchies, which singly and in combinations buy or destroy their competitors, corrupt the politics of nations, and seize, hoard, and wield for themselves most of the wealth of the human race.

continued here:

http://informationclearinghouse.info/article3310.htm
Title: Re:Corporation's in a free state
Post by: BobW on May 29, 2003, 12:32:42 pm
Hi Max,

I read that article by Ken Reiner.  I won't say he arrived at the wrong conclusin.  I will say the article does not assist and it out of focus regarding modern history in the States and overseas.

First, it's not only public corporations involved in this symbiotic relationship with government.  Private ones also.  Cargill comes to mind.  Merrill, Lynch was a partnership until the very end.  There are many other private corps.

US multinational corps did not always "impoverish their overseas markets".  Juan Tripp's Pan Am World Airways (it was not a missionary branch of a church) allowed for more economic development than impoverishment.  Look at General Electric, Westinghouse, Bethelem Steel, Winchester, Bell Telephone, RCA, Johnson and Johnson.

Until very recently in US history, a machine, say a submersible pump, with the high relief imprint of "Made in U.S.A." was all the advertising needed to guarantee an export sale.  Allthis has since changed but Ken Reiner does not address the real issues and the actual history.

The US military budget being larger than the next 14 military budgets of the world is misleading - I do not think Reiner is trying to mislead-and avoiding the sensitive material.  A large portion of the military payroll is disguised unemployment. A very large portion is corporate welfare.  A good-sized segment is political payoffs.  A shipyard there demands an aircraft maintaince facility here.

US oil policy cannot be "renounced" without construction of nuclear electric generating power plants like the Chinese and Japanese are doing.  Thank the same oil lobby via their environmental wacko surrogates keeping the issue on the back burner.  I mentioned at this site the vessel NS Savannah.

It is not correct and it is racial incitement to say "..the system that was designed to enfrancise only propertied white males." From 1903 until 1946, Filipino nationals with wealth had near complete economic and political mobility in the US (near; could not marry whites in California).

Corps don't acquire corps via "junk bond financing",  Junk bonds are rally junk equity.  

Small businesses weren't doomed by large businesses.  There's more to it.  The medical profession is running a cartel.  That's the major reason for current problems.  Overseas slave and child labor can get traced to US labor unions and their allies in management and government.  Here, also, there's more to it.

Enron's illegal transactions were not legal - and they were known.  Don't allow blame to be placed where it's not warranted.  Place it where it really belongs.

The market place is not deregulated.  It is REregulated.  

The telephone directory service should never have been free.  It really wasn't but don't tell an engineer/inventor this.  

Workers in China earn much more than 15 cents an hour even at the time of the document.

I write all the above not to practice my typing but to allow thread participants to think how we'd fare if we walked into a meeting room at a hotel in New Hampshire or Montana or Wyoming, and relied on the material of Ken Reiner.

1.  Could the material be challenged by eg management at the shipyard in Portsmouth, NH ?

2.  Could the material be challenged by a farm group in Montana?

3.  Could the material be challenged by a mining syndicate in Wyoming?

There is a lot more to the author's resulting conclusion.

We no longer live in the world of last year or last decade.  Corporations were getting more powerful for reasons well beyond the Reiner reasoning.  All the European countries increased the size of the corps.  So too in Asia.

There is a lot more to work on.  The nicest antagonists will avoid confrontations and just ask for solutions.  That's the hard part.

We've got a lot of work to do.

BobW  
Title: Re:Corporation's in a free state
Post by: Aaron on May 29, 2003, 02:54:25 pm
Bob,

I skimmed the article by Mr. Reiner, and I have to agree with you on several of your points, but not all.  Like you, I see no difference in effect between a public and a private corporation.  Maybe it is easier for a public company to be owned by another company since it is vulnerable to a hostile takeover, but that is about it.

I also agree with you that is is disingenious to make blanket statements such as all multinational corporations exploit the third world.  Corporations are like politicians.  While I harbor a serious disdain for most, there are always exceptions.  And while this may be a hair splitting distinction, it gives legitimacy to your conclusion.  His caustic style and factual errors make the document rather useless.

Quote
US oil policy cannot be "renounced" without construction of nuclear electric generating power plants like the Chinese and Japanese are doing.

Not so.  Jack Herer's, The Emporer Wears No Clothes outlines how hemp for fuel could provide an environmentally sustainable form of energy that would not only replace dependence on foreign oil, but would revitalize America's greatest natural resource, agriculture.  See also the thread in the business section about biodeisel production.


Quote
Enron's illegal transactions were not legal - and they were known.  Don't allow blame to be placed where it's not warranted.  Place it where it really belongs.

According to one of the fringe elements on this forum, the 16th amendment was never properly ratified and is not legal as well.  So what?  As long as the agents of government BEHAVE as if it were legal, the distinction is irrelevant.  There is plenty of blame to go around for the Enron debacle, but the reason I brought up Enron earlier in this thread is because the ability for corporations to own other corporations facilitated Enron's ability to use generally acceptable accounting practices to defraud so many; more so than any other single factor.

And since I'm on the subject of corporations owning others:

Quote
Still, how could a US corp survive with the restrictions mentioned.  The new British East India Companies are multiindustry, vertically and sometimes horizontally intergrated, heavily protected by local laws, subsidized by government and held to looser type legal standards... If a US corp could not own a corp, they'd be uncompetitive.  

Any MBAs out there who can help this Starbucks barista who flunked out of school understand  this one?  I fail to see how this prevents competition.  If I grow some tea in my back yard, I bet you I could sell it for less than 4.95 a box at the local market and thus be pretty good competition for Tazo, a Starbucks subsidiary.  If this is too small fry of an example, how about Tucker's automobiles?  He could have competed with Detroit if the big three hadn't had their political cronies legislate him out of existence.

Quote
Somewhere here in one of my posts, I mentioned C. Itoh (USA) Ltd, (believe of Gardena, Calif) .  It's a US corp with an obvious Japanese parent.  

As a US corporation, I would propose (as did Jefferson) that it not be allowed to be owned by another corporation.  At the very least, it should not have the same bundle of rights as a flesh and blood human being.  How the British and the Japanese regulate their corporations is their business.  The fact that some of them may be able to produce goods at a lower cost than others does not persuade me to accept a protectionist position any more than I favor protective tariffs.

Quote
Small businesses weren't doomed by large businesses.  

I agree.

It is not horizontal and vertical integration per se that worries me.  It is the propensity of these gargantuan conglomerates to purchase puppets in the legislature and instruct them to legislate their competition out of existence, or look the other way as their goons use baseball bats as negotiating tools with their workers' unions.  (BTW, I am not pro union.  I don't think unions should use legislative puppets to further their interests either.)  

Also, horizontal integration is usually an illusion because of the principle of ever advancing technology.  Corner the market on merchant shipping and someone will build a railroad.  Corner the market on railroads, and someone will build an automobile.  Corner the trucking industry and airplanes will be built.  This pattern happens in many so called "economies of scale":  print media>radio>broadcast television>cable tv>satellite tv>internet, dial-up internet service>DSL>cable internet>satellite internet service.  There is even a company offering flat rate unlimited local and long distance telephone service via your broadband internet connection.   These so called monopolies do not need to be broken up by legislation.  Their dominant market share is temporary.  And the higher they raise their prices to profit off their market dominance, the more incentive there is to develop technological innovations to compete.

 
Title: Re:Corporation's in a free state
Post by: BobW on May 30, 2003, 01:53:37 am
Hi Aaron,

Whether it's the oil lobby or the farm lobby, the issues become somewhat the same.  I don't know that much about hemp as a fuel. Do remember, however, that the biggest national, public scandal before Watergate was "Teapot Dome", a Naval Petroleum Reserve at Teapot Dome, Wyoming.

At issue for our purposes, after you and I exhaust ourselves on the R&D concerning these fields for a policy plank, is what can "sell"? It's a big issue and a big field.  If you and I did not have teams of support staff, we'd lose before even walking into the meeting room with those tables seating 10 per table.

The former Enron is not the big headache on the scene.  It just made the news because of the size of the bankruptcy and the many innocents who went down with the collapse.  There was nothing too shocking going on.  Exxon, General Electric and Westinghouse own more corps than what the public knows about.

Competition can be prevented by predatory pricing.  Predatory pricing is a function of size.  Large size is acceptable in Asia and Europe.  Royal Dutch Shell grew when Esso was split.  Bank Indo China grew while US banks stopped at the state line (until recently).  

Yes, the tea and Tucker car examples are too small.  The biggest US companies with USG support are frequently still too small to compete.  I'm thinking of Boeing here.  Witness JP Morgan joining with Chase.  I'm not talking about 2 petty cash accounts.

It IS the business and grave concern on how British and Japanese and Russian and Chinese, et al, run their regulations for business.  This is the competition.  In many cases foreign corporations are bigger and better than US corporations.  

It is next to impossible for US companies to corner any markets in today's world scene.  This is because of STCs - State Trading Companies.  Can your tea company compete with China National Tea Company?  Chinese companies are prepared to import a car similiar to the first Honda Civic, into Oakland and Jacksonville for approximately US$2,000 ,less tax and tariff fees.  Huge economies of scale, efficiencies, high productivity, etc are displayed.  I was told the MPG was excellent.

Soon US pharmaceudical companies will come under severe attack.  It's going to get interesting.

Note that the terms "Wall Street" meant the finance market.  "Detriot" meant the car industry.  Iowa was the state where VP Nixon took Khurschev to for a display of US farming.  Southern California was the home of aviation.  During World War II, sleepy Savannah, Georgia was producing 1 Liberty ship per week - per WEEK!

All the above has changed.

BobW  
Title: Re:Corporation's in a free state
Post by: BobW on May 30, 2003, 03:03:48 am
Hi Aaron,

I just skimmed through that biodiesel link.

What hit me cold was the example of soybean use, with soybeans grown by 400,000 farmers in 29 states.

If you prepare a financial report with correct cost allocations, you might see that this program is more costly than presented.

As an aside (although it really isn't) check out why the US Department of Agriculture lost it's commodity futures trading division to the new independent Commodities Futures Trading Corporation.

Now, not as an aside, check out the PL-480 program "Food For Peace".  This is the near equivilant of the old oil depletion allowance.

I glanced at a few of the industry specific sections at the site; marine transport, mining., electric generation.

Biodiesel is not competitive with the new technologies soon to be used.  This I say from an economic perspective.  From a political perspective, it is nowhere close.

America's greatest natural resource is definitely NOT agriculture.  

Now, after reading the thread (actually just skimmed), why is diesel fuel taxed for road transport and not taxed for farm use?  Something is going on and I'm guessing some Senators do not have the same environmental concerns you have.  There might be something more to this tax exemption.  

BobW
Title: Re:Corporation's in a free state
Post by: Steve on May 30, 2003, 05:00:07 am
I've never understood this anti-corporate hysteria.  Sure, they do a lot of bad things, but so do a lot of individual people.  They also do a lot of good things.  A lot of us work in them.  They haven't taken over the world; most people still work in small companies.  Sure, they buy influence and are behind a lot of rotten, unfair laws that have bloated our system.  But there are many other groups behind rotten unfair laws.  Lots of small people can band together into large organizations and wield similarly unfair influence, witness the AARP.  In Germany, where I just lived for six years, small store owners have managed to keep it illegal to shop after 4pm on Saturday until 9am Monday.

We libertarians should be neutral in our struggle to limit power.  I don't have anything against corporations any more than I do against the old people who are members of the AARP.  It is when they turn to the dark side that we have to oppose them.

Here's a libertarian solution: end the government-enforced monopoly known as "intellectual property".  This oxymoron underlies many of your hated corporations, e.g. Microsoft.
Title: Re:Corporation's in a free state
Post by: JasonPSorens on May 30, 2003, 08:05:29 am
Heck, the Free State Project is an evil "corporation." ;)  The problem is not the corporate form itself, but special privileges given by government to some of the largest, politically connected businesses.
Title: Re:Corporation's in a free state
Post by: max on May 30, 2003, 11:27:30 am
Jason,
  Thank you, I have been sitting here for an hour writing a bunch of stuff that you were able to put in a nut shell. I would also like to add that in addition to special privileges, big business is directly involved in which candidates are ALLOWED to run. Which means big business is RUNNING  this country!!! NOT the people. What can be done to restore our country to the people. I am open to suggestions but here are a few that I think should be considered.
1) End all political donations buy public and private business. Business's do not vote and are not people.
2) Limit individual political contribution to any one party to say $1000.00 per year. Additional individual contributions could be made but the funds would be distributed equally and fairly among all parties. Every penny of this money should be accounted for and open to public inspection at any time with out notice. This includes $5000.00 a plate dinners.
3) Limit how much an individual can put into their own campaign.
4) End all private lobbying by businesses, groups and individuals. All lobbying with the peoples representatives should be open to the public. No more lobbying on junkets in the Cayman islands.
Hey I'm open to ideas and comments. I am only as they say interested in the bottom line in what it will take to restore our country and put it back in the hands of the people.
Title: Re:Corporation's in a free state
Post by: max on May 30, 2003, 11:34:44 am
Dr. Byron answered my e-mail here is his response:


Jefferson's correspondence regarding this matter is reproduced in Thom Hartman's book "Unequal
Protection."

 

Here is some additional information:

 

       Published on Wednesday, December 11, 2002 by CommonDreams.org
       The Railroad Barons Are Back - And This Time
       They'll Finish the Job
       by Thom Hartmann
       
       The railroad barons first tried to infiltrate the halls of government in the early years after the Civil
       War.

       The efforts of these men, particularly Jay Gould, brought the Ulysses Grant administration into such
       disrepute, as a result of what were then called "the railroad bribery scandals," that Grant's own
       Republican party refused to renominate him for the third term he wanted and ran Rutherford B.
       Hayes instead. As the whitehouse.gov website says of Grant, "Looking to Congress for direction, he
       seemed bewildered. One visitor to the White House noted 'a puzzled pathos, as of a man with a
       problem before him of which he does not understand the terms.'"

       Although their misbehaviors with the administration and Congress were exposed, the railroad barons
       of the era were successful in a coup against the Supreme Court. One of their own was the Reporter
       for the Supreme Court, and they courted Justice Stephen Field with, among other things, the
       possibility of support for a presidential run. In the National Archives, we also recently found letters
       from the railroads offering free trips and other benefits to the 1886 Court's Chief Justice, Morrison R.
       Waite.

       Waite, however, didn't give in: he refused to rule the railroad corporations were persons in the same
       category as humans. Thus, the railroad barons resorted to plan B: they got human rights for
       corporations inserted in the Court Reporter's headnotes in the 1886 Santa Clara County v. Southern
       Pacific Railroad case, even though the court itself (over Field's strong objections) had chosen not to
       rule on the constitutionality of the railroad's corporate claims to human rights.

       And, based on the Reporter's headnotes (and ignoring the actual ruling), subsequent Courts have
       expanded those human rights for corporations. These now include the First Amendment human right
       of free speech (including corporate "speech" to influence politics - something that was a felony in
       most states prior to 1886), the Fourth Amendment human right to privacy (so a chemical company
       has successfully sued to prevent the EPA from performing surprise inspections - while retaining the
       right to perform surprise inspections of its own employees' bodily fluids and phone conversations),
       and the 14th Amendment right to live free of discrimination (using the free-the-slaves 14th
       Amendment, corporations have claimed discrimination to block local community efforts to pass "bad
       boy laws" or keep out predatory retailers).

       Interestingly, unions don't have these human rights. Neither do churches, or smaller, unincorporated
       businesses. Nor do partnerships or civic groups. Nor, even, do governments, be they local, state, or
       federal.

       And, from the founding of the United States, neither did corporations. Rights were the sole province
       of humans.

       As the father of the Constitution, President James Madison, wrote, "There is an evil which ought to
       be guarded against in the indefinite accumulation of property from the capacity of holding it in
       perpetuity by... corporations. The power of all corporations ought to be limited in this respect. The
       growing wealth acquired by them never fails to be a source of abuses." It's one of the reasons why
       the word "corporation" doesn't exist in the constitution - they were to be chartered only by states,
       so local people could keep a close eye on them.

       Early state laws (and, later, federal anti-trust laws) forbade corporations from owning other
       corporations, particularly in the media. In 1806, President Thomas Jefferson wrote, "Our liberty
       depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost." He was so
       strongly opposed to corporations owning other corporations or gaining monopolies of the media that,
       when the Constitution was submitted for ratification, he and Madison proposed an 11th Amendment
       to the Constitution that would "ban commercial monopolies." The Convention shot it down as
       unnecessary because state laws against corporate monopolies already existed.

       But corporations grew, and began to flex their muscle. Politicians who believed in republican
       democracy were alarmed by the possibility of a new feudalism, a state run by and to the benefit of
       powerful private interests.

       President Andrew Jackson, in a speech to Congress, said, "In this point of the case the question is
       distinctly presented whether the people of the United States are to govern through representatives
       chosen by their unbiased suffrages [votes] or whether the money and power of a great corporation
       are to be secretly exerted to influence their judgment and control their decisions."

       And the president who followed him, Martin Van Buren, added in his annual address to Congress: "I
       am more than ever convinced of the dangers to which the free and unbiased exercise of political
       opinion - the only sure foundation and safeguard of republican government - would be exposed by
       any further increase of the already overgrown influence of corporate authorities."

       Even Abraham Lincoln weighed in, writing, "We may congratulate ourselves that this cruel war is
       nearing its end. It has cost a vast amount of treasure and blood. The best blood of the flower of
       American youth has been freely offered upon our country's altar that the nation might live. It has
       indeed been a trying hour for the Republic; but I see in the near future a crisis approaching that
       unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country.

       "As a result of the war," Lincoln continued, "corporations have been enthroned and an era of
       corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its
       reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and
       the Republic is destroyed. I feel at this moment more anxiety than ever before, even in the midst of
       war. God grant that my suspicions may prove groundless." Lincoln held the largest corporations -
       the railroads - at bay until his assassination.

       But then came the railroad barons, vastly enriched by the Civil War.

       They began brining case after case before the Supreme Court, asserting that the 14th Amendment -
       passed after the war to free the slaves - should also free them.

       For example, in 1873, one of the first Supreme Court rulings on the Fourteenth Amendment, which
       had passed only five years earlier, involved not slaves but the railroads. Justice Samuel F. Miller
       minced no words in chastising corporations for trying to claim the rights of human beings.

       The fourteenth amendment's "one pervading purpose," he wrote in the majority opinion, "was the
       freedom of the slave race, the security and firm establishment of that freedom, and the protection of
       the newly-made freeman and citizen from the oppression of those who had formerly exercised
       unlimited dominion over him."

       But the railroad barons represented the most powerful corporations in America, and they were
       incredibly tenacious. They mounted challenge after challenge before the Court, claiming the 14th
       Amendment should grant them human rights under the Bill of Rights (but not grant such rights to
       unions, churches, small companies, or governments). Finally, in 1886, the Court's reporter defied
       his own Chief Justice and improperly wrote a headnote that moved corporations out of the privileges
       category and gave them rights - an equal status with humans. (Last year we found the
       correspondence between the two in the National Archives and put it on the web. By the time the
       Reporter's headnotes were published, the Chief Justice was dead.)

       On December 3, 1888, President Grover Cleveland delivered his annual address to Congress.
       Apparently Cleveland had taken notice of the Santa Clara County Supreme Court headnote, its
       politics, and its consequences, for he said in his speech to the nation, delivered before a joint
       session of Congress: "As we view the achievements of aggregated capital, we discover the
       existence of trusts, combinations, and monopolies, while the citizen is struggling far in the rear or is
       trampled to death beneath an iron heel. Corporations, which should be the carefully restrained
       creatures of the law and the servants of the people, are fast becoming the people's masters."


 continued to next post it was to long ......
Title: Re:Corporation's in a free state
Post by: max on May 30, 2003, 11:38:12 am
continued from previous post:

The Founders of America were clear when they wrote the Bill of Rights that humans had rights, and
       when humans got together to form any sort of group - including corporations, churches, unions,
       fraternal organizations, and even governments themselves - that those forms of human association
       had only privileges which were determined and granted by the very human "We, The People."

       But, as if by magic, even though in the Santa Clara case the Supreme Court did not rule on any
       constitutional issues (read the case!), the Court's reporter rewrote the American Constitution at the
       behest of the railroad barons and moved a single form of human association - corporations - from the
       privileges category into the rights category. All others, to this day, still only have privileges. But
       individual citizen voters must now politically compete with corporations on an equal footing - even
       though a corporation can live forever, doesn't need to breathe clean air, doesn't fear jail, can change
       its citizenship in an hour, and can own others of its own kind.

       Theodore Roosevelt looked at this situation and bluntly said, in April of 1906, "Behind the ostensible
       government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no
       responsibility to the people. To destroy this invisible government, to befoul the unholy alliance
       between corrupt business and corrupt politics is the first task of the statesmanship of the day."

       And so now, corporate-friendly Michael Powell's FCC is moving toward lifting the last tattered
       restrictions on media ownership, allowing absolute concentration of the voices we hear into a tiny
       number of corporate hands.

       Any day now a case involving a multinational corporation claiming the right to deceive people in its
       PR - its 1st Amendment right of free speech - may be coming before the Supreme Court. (The New
       York Times corporation editorialized on December 10th that corporations must have free speech
       rights: the lines are being drawn.)

       As much as half the federal workforce is slated to be replaced by corporate workers under a new
       Bush edict. Government (which doesn't have constitutional human rights of privacy, and so is
       answerable to We, The People) will then be able to use corporate-4th-Amendment-human-rights of
       privacy to hide what those workers do and how they do it from the prying eyes of citizens and
       voters. In a similar fashion, corporate-owned and thus unaccountable-to-the-people voting machines
       are being installed nationwide; in the last election these machines often produced vote results so
       different from the polls that pollsters who have been successfully calling elections for over 50 years
       threw up their hands and closed shop.

       This administration is set to complete what the railroad barons pushed the Grant administration to
       start: to take democracy and its institutions of governance from the hands of the human
       citizen/voters the Founders fought and died for, and give it to the very types of monopolistic
       corporations the Founders fought against when they led the Tea Party revolt against the East India
       Company in Boston Harbor in 1773.

       And, in the ultimate irony, the new man in charge of economic policy as Secretary of the Treasury
       will be a multi-millionaire Bush campaign contributor, chairman of The Business Roundtable (an elite
       corps of 100 of the nation's most powerful corporate CEOs), and, himself, a railroad baron.

       Thom Hartmann is the author of "Unequal Protection: The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the
       Theft of Human Rights" - www.unequalprotection.com and www.thomhartmann.com. Permission is
       granted to reprint this article in print or web media, so long as this credit is attached.

                                          ###


Best,

 

Mike Byron
Title: Re:Corporation's in a free state
Post by: BobW on May 30, 2003, 01:55:16 pm
Hi Max,

I just read that article by Thom Hartman on the Railroad barons.  Pay attention to what's written and what's left out. Some of the material is correct but out of it's historical context.  This makes it incorrect.

To give a favorable view to the article requires a reader to say that this same "system" was also in place after 1789 and all the way back to 1607.

If RR barons corrupted the Suprme Court as per the article it was not the first time nor the last.  Currently we've got Amtrack going on.  Pending is the maglev train with costs at US$14 million per mile.  I had read of a Supreme Court decision placing restrictions on margarine.  I wonder if the dairy industry was in a line right behind the RR folks.

What is Hartman trying to push with "half the federal workforce is slated to be replaced by corporate workers under a new Bush edict."?  I personally support President Bush's contracting out program.  It saves public funds and there will be no change regarding the individual worker.  Honest people are honest and the corrupt, corrupt.  

Actually, his history is incorrect.  It was Lincoln, a former RR lawyer who approached the industry to expedite a transcontinental RR link. Don't think John Fremont went to California before the Civil War for surfing.  

The writer has a political agenda built into his anticorruption article.  The voting machines scandal was addressed.  It will happen again.  

If a RR baron ISN'T a Secretary of the Treasury, would it matter?  We have no real royalty here so we get the business class. In other places the generals show up.  What really matters and what really determines events comes from maximum participation at the grass roots.  

BobW

 
Title: Re:Corporation's in a free state
Post by: JasonPSorens on May 30, 2003, 03:05:46 pm
I agree the article was somewhat biased.  I don't buy the argument that corporations don't have rights because they're not individuals.  Does that mean families don't have rights?  In one sense, collective entities like corporations & families don't have rights, but in another sense they do - all voluntary collective organizations (like corporations and families) are composed of individuals and possess the rights those individuals delegate to it.
Title: Re:Corporation's in a free state
Post by: LisaLew on June 13, 2003, 02:12:49 pm
WOW-- this is an interesting thread, much of it over my head!

With this discussion of corporations, there has not been much discussion of the foundations and public/private partnerships these corporations are often involved in.  This phenomenon is ever  growing and the true reason why these companies have philanthropist foundations is often over looked.  

Any comments on this?
Title: Re:Corporation's in a free state
Post by: BobW on June 13, 2003, 02:28:54 pm
Hi LisaLew,

It's not overlooked by me.

It's a little too much for this site. Better to approach this material in a rehab'ed barn or abandoned quarry "out west" when we can get into this.  It's difficult on the web.

BobW
Title: Re:Corporation's in a free state
Post by: max on June 14, 2003, 02:14:10 pm
Hello Bob and Lisa,
  Lisa I 100% agree with you. The influence over our country and govt. that these large corporations have is in my opinion chilling. Bob thanks for jumping in and providing analysis on the article's I posted. I also would like to state that I am not anti corporation. I want corporate influence severely limited. Bob I would look forward to having a few beers or whatever with you in a rehab'ed barn or abandoned quarry "out west" sometime (shameless hint for Bob to invite me over to his barn). But I have serious concerns about this and a few other things that I wanted to bring up now before making a decision to sign.
 Since corporations as they are now are treated as if they have the same (or more) constitutional rights as people what will happen when people have even more rights in a free state? How will corporations take advantage of more freedom in a free state? Will the free state be a corporate free for all driven by corporate interests and corporate sponsored candidates or will the people  hold the power? I hope the people of FSP have the wisdom, and will to tackle this issue early on.   Look what just went down with the FCC. My blood boils when I read headlines like this.

On June 2nd, the FCC let giant media companies get even bigger,
despite overwhelming opposition from the American public.

Where did the pressure come from for the FCC to make this decision? Wow the American public sure threw their weight around on this one. huh...... All I can say is I hope Rupert Murdock thinks FSP is a good idea.

Title: Re:Corporation's in a free state
Post by: BobW on June 14, 2003, 10:27:41 pm
Hi Max,

I know you'renot anti-corp. These telegraph keys aren't the best way to discuss something.  Conferences are.  I give the most favorable reading to a post.

Sometimes, if not usually, I post mostly negative comments.  It's only because of the limitations of preparing a comprehensive position via these transmissions.

The modern American corporation is just the current business vehicle that was performed in yesteryear by proprietarships, partnerships, royal chartered colonies, trading companies (eg Dutch East India Co)

The current problems aren't actually "corporate", but really the same ol' human problems.  It's just a different vehicle.

Corporate interests can get translated into "powerful interests".  The human condition won't change in New Hampshire, Wyoming or Alaska (although California and New York can probably get worse!).

Forgot who said it, but to minimize the problem takes =eternal viligence=.

Don't worry about the FCC decision.  You really know what generated the decision ....money.  

BobW
Title: Re:Corporation's in a free state
Post by: LisaLew on June 16, 2003, 10:39:56 am
Max-- I am watching this thread with great interest.  I have similar questions myself.
Regards- LisaLew
Title: Re:Corporation's in a free state
Post by: RhythmStar on June 16, 2003, 12:27:58 pm
On corporations, I have to say that I have no problems with them as vehicles for business.  In my profession (venture technologist), I am always working on a start-up corporation.  From an access-to-capital and monetization of intellectual property perspective, corps are great.  

HOWEVER, I think we have to differentiate between what are essentially entrepreneurial vehicles for business and the entrenched, corrupt, politically abusive corporate behemoths that have taken over so much of the Federal machinery.  Often, these are multi-national entities with far-flung interests and agendas that are quite counter to the interests of the United States and its citizens.  Even the domestic ones have an executive suite populated via the revolving-door that leads to Washington DC.   It is totally unremarkable (by common practice) for a Secretary to approve multi-billion dollar Federal contracts on his way out of office, then receive millions in lucrative stock and other compensation in a top-level position with the same firm.  It reeks!

I think property rights are the fundamental set of rights that corporations ought to enjoy.  Political rights ought to be limited to the People.  Even though one may argue that corporations are composed of people, there is nothing stopping any of those people from exercising their political rights in the corporations' favor.  If shareholders want a particular political solution, let them advocate it as individuals.  If the management wants to influence party politics, let them make their case in the media to the people, not under the table to corrupted politicians, who then owe the multi-nationals more than their own constituents.

Our government is supposed to be of, by and for the People.  Corporations are NOT people.

RS


Title: Re:Corporation's in a free state
Post by: scottrk29 on June 16, 2003, 12:53:23 pm
     Rhythym Star I believe you've hit the nail on the head.
Title: Re:Corporation's in a free state
Post by: LeRuineur6 on June 16, 2003, 02:04:46 pm
I'm not really the anti-corporate type either, but I definitely feel strongly about a few things.

Here in VT during the 2002 elections, all polls showed the Democratic candidate for Governor winning by about 10%.  I think the elections used proprietary voting machines.  Anyways, we SOMEHOW ended up with a Republican Governor.

A 10% reversal?  I guess it's possible.  But WHY are voting machines proprietary?  Why isn't their design well-publicized, criticized, scrutinized, and reviewed?  Don't you think voting is a little bit more important than anything else we do with machines and that the design should be public domain?  Seriously.

After the ballot anonymously leaves a person's hand, it should be the most public piece of paper in the country.  Each should be scanned into two entirely separate computers, compiled into databases of high-resolution images, and the databases of both computers should be openly compared to each other, with any oddities explained in full.  Then the ballots should be stored and preserved in a very safe place for one or two decades.

The images of ballots should be publicly-accessible on the internet, and their records should NEVER be destroyed.  Each ballot should have a number and every single one should be publicly accounted for.  If someone messes up on one, it should still be entered into the database instead of thrown away.  Every single ballot should be accounted for.

The fact that this is not already being done today scares me.

On the subject of campaign finance, WHY should anyone but a voter be allowed to give money to a candidate?  WHY should Microsoft or Philip Morris be able to buy politicians?  And WHY are politicians paid so much?

If you can't cast a vote, you can't fund the campaign.

Also, companies just buy personal gifts for politicians in order to control their vote.  WHY is this legal?  There must be a way to stop this.

Being a politician should be service, not business.  Politicians must have NO legal way to profit from casting their vote one way or another.

Look at New Hampshire.  Politicians are only paid $100 per year, cannot vote to give themselves a raise without amending the state's constitution, and there are many, many politicians.

The result?  A permanent citizen legislature.  Not profitable.  No corrupt career politicians.  No laws passed in favor of one company or another.  A company would have to pay off 200 of the 400 members of the NH house in order to force a bill through.  Not going to happen.
Title: Re:Corporation's in a free state
Post by: RhythmStar on June 16, 2003, 03:18:41 pm
FWIW, I know that the LP has opposed campaign finance reform.  They have a seemingly valid complaint, in that soft money bans would make life very hard for small parties trying to get any leverage they can.

However, it's a deal with the devil for the LP I think, as the ocean of soft money flowing into the major parties, with their political power and widespread corruption, dwarfs the dribbles that come to the LP.  This massive leverage virtually ensures that the money smaller parties do receive is only a little more effective than no money at all.  One might say that each dollar spent by a small party is DEFLATED in value, based on the relative visibility it can buy.

On the surface, it would seem to be another hopeless political dichotomy -- to have or not to have soft money across the board, but I am not so sure.  Recent research into economic dynamics, particularly network effects, has been used to establish the monopoly status of Microsoft.  Isn't the monopoly on political power that the major parties wield due (at least in part) to these same network effects?   If commercial monopolies are deemed counter to the interests of consumer, why aren't political monopolies just as bad for the voter?  Shouldn't the voter get to choose based on the issues, rather than on who can game the system into the most effective stonewall against competing ideas?  Just as Microsoft used its monopoly power to unethically restrain trade, it seems the major parties and their financiers force the same sort of restraint in the political domain.

Effectively, the leadership of the major parties and their backers have formed a sort of political Trust, artificially restricting the marketplace of politics, erecting barriers to entry and jacking up the price of government, to their own enrichment (as opposed to the enrichment of their rank and file party members).  At least, that's the way it looks to me.

RS