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Author Topic: Corporation's in a free state  (Read 8971 times)

JasonPSorens

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Re:Corporation's in a free state
« Reply #15 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.
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max

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Re:Corporation's in a free state
« Reply #16 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.
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max

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Re:Corporation's in a free state
« Reply #17 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 ......
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max

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Re:Corporation's in a free state
« Reply #18 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
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BobW

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Re:Corporation's in a free state
« Reply #19 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

 
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JasonPSorens

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Re:Corporation's in a free state
« Reply #20 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.
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LisaLew

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Re:Corporation's in a free state
« Reply #21 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?
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BobW

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Re:Corporation's in a free state
« Reply #22 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
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max

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Re:Corporation's in a free state
« Reply #23 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.

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Re:Corporation's in a free state
« Reply #24 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
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LisaLew

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Re:Corporation's in a free state
« Reply #25 on: June 16, 2003, 10:39:56 am »

Max-- I am watching this thread with great interest.  I have similar questions myself.
Regards- LisaLew
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RhythmStar

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Re:Corporation's in a free state
« Reply #26 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


« Last Edit: June 16, 2003, 12:28:35 pm by RhythmStar »
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Re:Corporation's in a free state
« Reply #27 on: June 16, 2003, 12:53:23 pm »

     Rhythym Star I believe you've hit the nail on the head.
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Re:Corporation's in a free state
« Reply #28 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.
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RhythmStar

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Re:Corporation's in a free state
« Reply #29 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
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