Saturday, January 23, 2010

It's Fascism, I Tells Ya!

"Fascism should more properly be called 'corporatism' because it is the total merging of corporate and state power."

Benito Mussolini
the Founding Father of the Fascist state

So corporations are "people", with "certain unalienable rights"? You've got to hand it to Reagan and the two Bushes. Thanks to their atrocious appointments to America's highest court, the damage they've done to our democracy will be felt for generations. The recent decision by the Supreme Court to strike down two precedents (including McCain/Feingold) which limited the obscene amount of money a corporation could use to influence the electoral process is a case in point. According to the Supremes, a corporation is "a person" entitled to take advantage of the First Amendment just like any other "person". It kind of makes you wonder, doesn't it?

Here's the good news: Justice Antonin Scalia is lookin
g a little worse for wear these days. Just check him out in the photograph posted above. The guy looks like he's going to keel over at any moment. Don't get me wrong; I'm not wishing for him to die - oh, perish the thought gentle reader! That's certainly not my style! I'm just speculating that he may retire in the near future for reasons of health. Then again, it would be just like the hideous old bastard to stay on the job till he drops.

Predicting where the Justices would stand on this issue was as easy as predicting that the sun will rise in the east this morning. Stevens, Breyer, Ginsberg and Sotomayor stood with the people. Kennedy, Roberts, Alito, Scalia, and Uncle Thomas (all appointees of either Reagan or the Bushes) once again voted to thrust a dagger into the heart of Democracy.

Not since Plessy vs. Ferguson or Dred Scott have the Supremes gotten it so wrong. On one of these points I am just a tad sensitive. The Chief Justice who wrote the Dred Scott Decision, Roger Brooke Taney, is a relative of mine. Trust me, this is not a particular point of pride within my family. Personally, I would rather have been related to Joe McCarthy. At least he was known to have had a sense of humor.

Ascribing humanity to a corporation, to a company like Exxon or Disney for example, raises too many questions to even list here. But let's at least attempt to ask a few of them, shall we, boys and girls? Here goes....

Are corporations really persons?

Do corporations think?

Do corporations weep?

Do corpora
tions fall in love?
Do corporations grieve when a loved one dies as a result of a lack of adequate health care?

Do corporations
have loved ones?

Are corporations even capable of loving?

Do corporations sometimes lose sleep at night worrying about disease, violence, destruction, and the suffering of their fellow human beings?

Do corporations feel your pain?

Can a corporation run for public office?

Is a corporation capable of having a sense of humor? Is it capable of laughing at itself? (EXAMPLE: "So these two corporations walk into a bar....")

`If a corporation ever committed an unspeakable crime against the American people, could IT be sent to federal prison? (Note the operative word here: "It")
Can a corporation register to vote? We all know that corporations have made a shit-load of cash throughout our history by profiting on the unspeakable tragedy of war. But has a corporation ever given its life for its country?

Is a corporation capable of raising a child?

Does a corporation have a conscience? Does it feel remorse after it has done something really bad?

Has a corporation ever been killed in an accident as the result of a design flaw in the automobile it was driving?

Has a corporation ever written a novel or a dramatic play or a song that inspired millions?

Has a co
rporation ever risked its life by climbing a ladder to save a child from a burning house?

Has a corporation ever won an Oscar? Or an Emmy? Or a Tony? Or the Nobel Peace Prize? Or a Polk or Peabody Award? Or the Pulitzer Prize in Biography?

Has a corporation ever performed Schubert's Ave Maria?

Has a corporation ever been shot and killed by someone who was using an illegal and unregistered gun?

Has a corporation ever paused to reflect upon the simple beauty of an autumn sunset or a brilliant winter moon rising on the horizon?

If a tree falls in the forest, does it make a noise if there are no corporations there to he
ar it?

Should corporations kiss on the first date?

Could a corporation resolve to dedicate its life to being an artist? Or a musician? Or an opera singer? Or a Catholic priest? Or a rabbi? Or a Doctor? Or a Dentist? Or a sheet metal worker? Or a gourmet chef? Or a short-order cook? Or a magician? Or a nurse? Or a trapeze artist? Or an author? Or an editor? Or a Thrift Shop owner? Or a EMT worker? Or a book binder? Or a Hardware Store clerk? Or a funeral director? Or a sanitation worker? Or an actor? Or a comedian? Or a glass blower? Or a chamber maid? Or a film director? Or a newspaper reporter? Or a deep sea fisherman? Or a farmer? Or a piano tuner? Or a jeweler? Or a janitor? Or a nun? Or a Trappist Monk? Or a poet? Or a pilgrim? Or a bar tender? Or a tar bender? Or a used car salesman? Or a brick layer? Or a mayor? Or a soothsayer? Or a Hall-of-Fame football player? Or a soldier? Or a sailor? Or a butcher? Or a baker? Or a candlestick maker?
Could a corporation choose to opt out of all the above and merely become a bum? Living life on the road, hopping freight trains and roasting mickeys in the woods?

I realize that this is pure theological speculation on my part but the question is just screaming to be posed: When corporations die, do they go to Heaven?

Our lives - yours and mine - have more worth than any goddamned corporation. To say that the Supreme Court made a awful decision on Thursday is an understatement. Not only is it an obscene ruling, it is an insult to our humanity.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

A film by Mark Achbar


Happy birthd
ay in Heaven to Ernie Kovacs (photo left) who would have turned ninety-one today. Ernie died on the night of January 13, 1962 - ten days before he would have turned forty-three - when he lost control of the Corvair station wagon he was driving and wrapped it around a utility poll, killing him instantly. Due to a major flaw in its design, the Corvair was later deemed, "Unsafe at Any Speed". After a lengthy and protracted battle with General Motors (the corporation that manufactured the vehicle) Ralph Nader was able to have it banned forever from America's roads.

I Hope you're sleeping well, Ernie.


The hideous old bastard stayed on the job until he dropped. He's gone now.

For more recent postings, go to the link below: 

It might help.


At 8:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


How are you feeling since the MA massacre?

Poor Ted is rolling over in his grave. I think he is in hell reliving the same day forever as in the movie "Groundhog Day." The day he is reliving is the day he drove off the bridge. He should have served time in prison for manslaughter.

The people have rejected Barry, Harry, and Nancy's fantasy Utopian state.

Why don't you write something on how government and unions have become one. Unions who were once useful in demanding fair pay and benefits have now transcended into job killing machines that suck the life out of productivity. Demanding raises not equal to increases in productivity helps to send jobs overseas.

Archie Bunker

At 9:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Tom, I agree with you on this one. I was sick about the decision. Corporations and unions have no buisness funding campaign efforts. We need finance reform and term limits get this country back on track.

I do feel a little better now that Brown won and the dems have to consider other points of view in their legislative activities.


At 10:21 AM, Blogger Amolibri said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 10:23 AM, Blogger Amolibri said...

Tom: correct you are, as usual!!
Re: Some of your "can a corporation..." list? I think a corp DID win the World Series, in a manner of speaking! ;~)
Keep up the good work, man!!!

At 12:40 PM, Blogger charles moore said...

Hi Tom,

You certainly hit the nail on the head with this one. It is a pity that the Supremes did not have your input before their decision.

Without naming names and thus upsetting some of your not so gentle readers, we all know that some members of the SCOTUS should never have been seated to begin with and the damage they have done and continue to do is something we will have to live with for a long time. The more frightening thing is the youthfulness (?) of some of them who will thus have many more years to do their mischief and the fact that there are no term limits as they become infirm and senile and do not have the good sense to retire.

At 3:29 PM, Anonymous Jane Lane said...

Thanks for sharing your post with us over at The Rural Woman Zone.

At 6:44 PM, Blogger finefroghair said...

Archie bunker was a great fictional character you are merely fictional or at least your statements are. You have no conception of the current state of things in this country, government and unions are one, that would be laughable if that form of thinking was not so pernicious and outright dangerous union membership has slipped below double digits from a high of only 35% and contrary to your statement productivity has increased some 50 percent over the last 20 years. The only thing that has declined are real wages so in essence you are only stating the lies and vitriol of your corporate masters thanks for being one of the sheeple Baa Baa!!! Yes, Tom corporations do cry especially when they receive a less than stellar quarterly report.

At 9:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

finefroghair, your name sounds so much more real than mine.

Productivity increasing 50 percent over the last 20 years I'm sure had almost NOTHING to do with Unions.

If it were up to unions, refrigerators would be outlawed, since a great number of jobs were lost when the weekly ice deliveries were no longer needed.

Corporatism is when corporations become intertwined with the government. This is true of some of the larger companies in America but the vast majority of workers in the US work for smaller corporations and companies who are not in such a relationship with the government.

My suggestion about an article about how the government under Obama has become more intertwined with Unions is no different with regard to the number of people involved.

The government forced GM and Chrysler bondholders to forfeit their legal right to be the first in line creditors in bankruptcy so that auto unions could get large shareholdings in both companies. The taxpayer money going to bailout GM and its union will never be repaid. GM is a big sinkhole of taxpayer money. The stimulus package has restrictions requiring that much of the spending go only to unionized workers. Trying to exempt union workers from being taxed on higher health care plans is also an unfair relationship with government.

I'm sure you will respond about all the money going to the big banks. I was not in favor of all the taxpayer money going to the banks, but believe at least the banks will eventually repay all their loans unlike the UAW.

As for the conception of the current state of things in this country, I know Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi WILL BE GONE THIS NOVEMBER, but I'm you still have your rose colored glasses on and believe they will remain.

The tea baggers are real as you saw in MA. Get over it.

Archie Bunker

At 11:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tom, this is probably the worst thing that's happened from the bench in my lifetime or yours (and I'm older than you). Talk about legislating from the bench! GRRRR.


At 12:11 AM, Blogger finefroghair said...

Dear Archie are you an original tea bagger, and do you know the proper expression of the term to "tea bag" well you should. If you think, I am defending unions you are sorely mistaken. The UAW just took a big one up the ass and the bailout of GM and Chysler drop in the bucket, besides have you ever heard of the arsenal of democracy, this country better retain some of it's indutrial base or we are screwed. Frankly this boils down to a national security issue which I would think you should naturally embrace. Your knowledge of bankruptcies is got to be lacking do you think they changed the rules just to benefit the automakers there are procedures in place that are followed in these cases same as airlines, steel companies, etc.. Dude you need to wear glasses you're totally myopic, banks repay bailout money please. These loans are in the trillions of dollars GM et al 40 billion please do the math if you can. And, lest you forget this shit storm started with GWB and the the implementation of republican ideology which I am sure you are familiar with but in your rose colored glasses world could not have caused these problems.

At 7:35 AM, Blogger Jefferson's Guardian said...

Tom, the film you recommended at the end of your article is definitely worth watching. I'm hoping the pro-corporate entourage following your blog take the time to watch it. They may learn something.

Also, and I mentioned this well over a year ago following one of your articles, Thom Hartmann's excellent book, Unequal Protection: The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Theft of Human Rights, should be must reading for anyone who's interested in knowing and understanding the origins and basis of corporate personhood and all its manifestations.

Taken from the inner sleeve of Mr. Hartmann's book: "...describes the history of the fourteenth Amendment -- created at the end of the Civil War to grant basic rights to freed slaves -- and how it has been used by lawyers representing corporate interests to extend additional rights to business far more frequently than to freed slaves. Prior to 1886, corporations were referred to in U.S. law as "artificial persons." But in 1886, after a series of cases brought by lawyers representing the expanding railroad interests, the Supreme Court ruled that corporations were "persons" and entitled to the same rights granted to people under the Bill of Rights. Since this ruling, America has lost the legal structures that allowed for people to control corporate behavior. As a result, the largest transnational corporations fill a role today that has historically been filled by kings. They control most of the world's wealth and exert power over the lives of most of the world's citizens. Their CEOs are unapproachable and live lives of nearly unimaginable wealth and luxury. They've become the rudder that steers the ship of much of human experience, and they're steering it by their prime value -- growth and profit at any expense -- a value that has become destructive for life on Earth. This new feudalism was not what our founders -- Federalists and Democratic Republicans alike -- envisioned for America."

This past week's SCOTUS decision may just be the death knell of American democracy. Not that we've been experiencing true republican representation and elections for the last few decades, because corporate personhood has invaded and penetrated our lives for over the last one-hundred-twenty-five years, but this latest decision will throw gasoline on an already out-of-control fire. As I already mentioned in your past posting, the speed has increased, and the ante has been raised, and the corporatists have blatantly announced their intentions to all who will hear...and listen.

Tom, in closing, I have a philosophical question to ask you: If a death knell rings in a society full of ignorant and close-minded people, does it make any sound?

At 7:59 AM, Blogger Tom Degan said...

Good question, J.G.

Of course we know the answer to it, don't we....

What sound?

At 8:33 AM, Blogger W.D. Shirley said...

Archie Bunker was acted by a man who was an activist liberal. He thought Archie was an example of the stupid American. So this anonymous poster thinks governments are being taken over by unions? Dipshit- I was both in a union and in government and let me tell you the influence of unions is negligible. Governors have passed edicts reducing the the power of unions and their ability to even exist. Work is given to non-union corporations while state workers are allowed to leave and their positions are eliminated. The direction things are going is for corporate run government with NO unionized workforce. So your argument was valid in the 50's but not at all in the teens. I bet you're a life-long Republicrat, right? yeah, they love to lie and lie about how the people are a threat to profits, bad old greedy powerful grandfathers mowing state owned properties and being laid off just before they can retire! Yeah, real powerful.

At 10:04 AM, Blogger pj finn said...

As much as this decision sucks, it's no great surprise given the make-up of SCOTUS. I hear there is considerable organizing work being started to pressure Congress into reversing the ruling -- it can be done, but must be done within a certain time period and I think it requires a super-majority -- but whether that would happen, seeing as the gravy train that feeds political campaigns would be impacted, is a huge question mark.

BTW, I never knew Ernie Kovacks died in a Corvair.

At 11:18 AM, Anonymous Henrietta G. Tavish said...

Silly. The issue is not whether corporations are human, but whether they have speech and press rights. Newspapers and media corporations aren't human either, and can't do any of the things you list, but have First Amendment rights.

At 11:55 AM, Blogger Jefferson's Guardian said...

Henrietta, of course corporations are not human. That's a certainty. But, under the U.S. Constitution, as interpreted by the SCOTUS, they nonetheless are considered "persons". And, because of this, they have all the rights that you do, as a "natural person", under the supreme law of the land.

This is not what our Founders intended.

Plus, it appears you've bought into the invalid argument that major media has first amendment rights, yet are not natural humans. You've forgotten that at one time major media outlets were once independent and mostly family or locally owned. Now, most are subsidiaries of larger corporate monoliths; just another profit-center to be manipulated for extraction of wealth, not the dissemination of truth and unbiased information. To think we have a "free press" is naive at best.

At 12:12 PM, Blogger Rauha (Peace) said...

Thanks for putting it so well. Tom.

But Western Democracy is full of such idiosyncracies as my next blog entry specifically covers.

And Eastern Democracies work yet at another pitch.

So maybe the problem is not with the individual nations themselves, but the understanding of the word Democracy?


At 12:49 PM, Blogger mark hoback said...

When corporations die, do they go to heaven?

Nobody really knows what happens after Chapter 7...

At 1:58 PM, Anonymous Henrietta G. Tavish said...


It's not clear to me what point you're trying to make with the distinction between humans and persons. I used "human" because Tom was describing things that only humans can do to make the case that speech and press rights should be exclusively accorded to persons who were human (or to argue that only humans should be considered persons). But the First Amendment says this:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

It doesn't say only humans or human persons have speech and press rights. It simply forbids the government from limiting those rights, no matter what person or entity is exercising them. (It would also seem to me that under your interpretation, the government could shut down churches and mosques and synagogues because those entities aren't humans/persons, and restrict religion rights to individual worship).

Your claim that speech and press rights should only be extended to family-owned or independent or local or unbiased or truthful entities is erroneous. The Constitutions makes no such categories or distinctions -- categories and distinctions which would destroy free speech altogether. Neo-Nazi and skinhead organizations have the same speech and press rights as anyone else, and it's not the government's place to censor speech that it considers biased, false or partisan. There's a reason the ACLU argued passionately in favor of this decision.

The reason for the Obama administration's dislike of the decision is clear. They have repeatedly argued that Fox is not a "real" news organization, and they want the government to be in the position of being able to decide which media corporations are exempt as part of the "press" and which ones they can shut down. That is what is undemocratic.

At 3:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

According to the Supremes, a corporation is "a person" entitled to take advantage of the First Amendment just like any other "person".

Would it be ok with you if the government censored the New York Times during an election, since they are a corporation and all? What if they told you you were prohibited from publishing negative diatribes about candidates through because it's a corporation?

At 3:35 PM, Blogger Rain Trueax said...

Once again you nailed it. We feared when Bush nominated Roberts and Alito that this would be the end result but hoped for the best based on the lies they told to get into office. In politics, it seems to be guaranteed when anyone talks loudly of being a Christian, that everything they do will be the opposite. I guess they feel the ends justifies the means. They could do well to remember what Jesus said about praying in a closet and letting your good deeds speak about what you believe. Not a chance with our modern political bunch.

At 4:21 PM, Blogger Dan said...


Thanks for your comment on my similar post. As I commented therein re: the standing of corporations as "persons", I don't think that there is any reason to challenge that status when it comes to business dealings. My issue is that they are now on an equal playing field with "natural persons", having been granted First Amendment rights just like natural person, and I'm worried about unforeseen consequences herein.

Example: Company X decides to fire every employee who is a professing Christian, and henceforth hires only Muslims, or Buddhists, or atheists, or whatever (this having nothing to do with their business – they're not a religious group, just a widget manufacturer). The fired employees sue, claiming that under federal employment laws the Company isn't allowed to discriminate against them based on their religion. The Company challenges said federal law as unconstitutional, claiming that it (the Company), as a “person” entitled to First Amendment rights, was merely exercising its own religious practices, and Congress isn't allowed to make any law prohibiting their free exercise of religion.

That's the distinction between corporate rights as fictive persons for business purposes (what they used to have) and putting corporations onto equal footing with "natural" persons (i.e., human beings). Is this really the kind of public policy we want to allow?

At 5:09 PM, Blogger Unknown said...


Hi my name is Grant Lawrence.Can I use your articles at my site? You are writing some great stuff.
I will headline the article with your name....Include your name again before the article and create a couple of links back.

Let me know.


At 5:24 PM, Blogger Tom Degan said...

Hello, Grant....

Whatever I have posted there you are more than welcome to - FREE OF CHARGE! (now there's a left-winger for you)

I am flattered and honored.

All the best,

Tom Degan

By the way....

I've been visiting your site for quite some time now. I just wanted to say that I think it's great.



At 5:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Example: Company X decides to fire every employee who is a professing Christian, and henceforth hires only Muslims, or Buddhists, or atheists, or whatever (this having nothing to do with their business – they're not a religious group, just a widget manufacturer). The fired employees sue, claiming that under federal employment laws the Company isn't allowed to discriminate against them based on their religion.

Dan, are you saying that as it now stands, a member of a religious group similarly subjected to discrimination by an employer that isn't a corporation--like a small business owned by a single individual--wouldn't be protected by federal anti-discrimination statutes? I don't think that's the case.

At 8:33 PM, Blogger P M Prescott said...

Shell Oil is a Dutch Corporation, but because it has business in the U.S. it is now considered a citizen and is allowed to pay for political advertizements to elect politicians of its choice, with no truth in advertising laws hindering them.
It's one thing for international corporations buying our politicians, but now they own the whole process.

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At 8:41 PM, Blogger Avram Mirsky said...

David Korten wrote "When Corporations Rule the World" in 1995, and has been a vocal advocate of a new kind of market economy ever since. This cannot go on!

At 9:12 PM, Blogger Molly Strong said...

Hi, Tom. I just saw your response to my post and wanted to thank you for sharing - this is a GREAT post! I will post it on my blog and site you plus share it on Facebook. You also have a great blog. :-)

You may also want to check out this post I wrote on trauma bonding, which Thom Hartmann asked if I would spread around:

Thanks again! :-)

Molly Strong
Gresham, OR

At 9:22 PM, Blogger W.D. Shirley said...

I have noticed a trend among corporatists, even on this site. They conflate "free speech" with contributions of money. I have very little problem with Walmart buying ads for their business. I DO mind if they flood the airways with ads for Governor Patterson. I DO mind if they manage to contribute $500,000,000 to his election campaign. This decision by the Supreme Republican Court calls corporations more worthy citizens than my daughter, who is trying very hard to live in America with a monstrous student loan over her head. Walmart will never have to worry about being laid off. Walmart exists to take money from you and I and funnel it to China. This is not good for America. Talk is NOT money. If the CEO wants to write an article for the Nation mag, go for it. If he wants to pay for enough Legislators to control congress, I say HELL NO! So if these Fascist assholes haven't the sense to understand that every single fascist nation starts a war and loses, decimating it's population somebody needs to show them a history book. I am part of this particular population and a student of world history. I happen to KNOW the Founders specifically wanted the power in this nation to be held by the voters, not the big money powers. The fact that virtually all big corporations exist outside the national structure: they straddle national boundaries, having American, French, Chinese and Russian components should have raised a red flag warning that allowing the Chinese to determine who becomes our President is a seriously dangerous move! I can't believe there are that many mentally retarded people in the one political party we are allowed to have. I have to believe they are talking from their wallets and have a vague idea they will be richer in a Fascist country. Maybe they will, lots of Germans did pretty good under Hitler. Our own Henry Ford certainly liked the fascists and he got rich, right? And as a result we have a vulnerable country exposed to the whims of terrorists, sprawling cities that cannot be sustained, factory farms killing off the soil and the farmers, and schools which lie to the children about what we are and how we got there. I reject Fascism with the same vigor I reject the Communists. I want to live in a democracy, I want my children to grow up in freedom some day and since we are here, let's turn around this country and make it into a democracy.

At 1:05 AM, Blogger Jefferson's Guardian said...

Henrietta, in Buckley v. Valeo (1976), the SCOTUS upheld a federal law which set limits on campaign contributions, but ruled that spending money to influence elections is a form of constitutionally protected free speech. That's where the concept of "free speech" gets derailed, and that's where I disagree corporations, or any other artificial entities, are entitled to first amendment protection.

The Bill of Rights was only intended to apply to "natural born" persons, not artificial. Natural rights, a philosophical concept of the Enlightenment, and many of the ideas in the Declaration of Independence, were borrowed from the English liberal and political philosopher, John Locke. Being the obvious precursor to the U.S. Constitution, and the Bill of Rights, the Declaration never was meaning artificial entities when Thomas Jefferson wrote:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

To extend the meaning to include artificial entities, or artificial persons, is gratuitous to say the least.

At 3:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seriously. No corporation or press agency or government branch is not run by a human or group of humans. De-humanizing them for your own arguments will never work. You say Walmart when you really mean the Board of Directors of Walmart. These are people making money for themselves by making money for others. Can you provide a system in which money is not necessary? Yes, they produce in China because China is cheaper and the various governmental and OSHA standards that we provide are not followed. Can you sew a shoe? Do you want benefits? If you work more than 40 hours a week, do you want to be paid more? Do you want a vacation?

Economies affect the entire world. People in developing nations sew shoes and make shirts in order to survive. How does no one understand this? In this recession, some people have to choose the cheapest items. The cheapest bread. We have to protect ourselves and our families. This is what countries like China and Vietnam have been living with for decades. We try to invest for our future, but ultimately, there is a little seed of greed behind every transaction. We are all vulnerable.

Greed is the culprit. If we can find an antidote for wanting more, then we will have a solution. Until then, I urge you all to be a little more human every day.

At 4:25 AM, Blogger Jefferson's Guardian said...

Anonymous, it's very obvious that the legal fiction of corporate personhood has flown right over your head.

As I asked earlier: If a death knell rings in a society full of ignorant and close-minded people, does it make any sound? You've answered my question. Apparently not!

p.s. Please read Thom Hartmann's book. Become enlightened!

At 1:17 PM, Blogger Ellis D., Esq. said...

Constitutional law....right up my alley. Here we go......first of all, outside of the Warren Court of the early 1960s, few if any U.S. Supreme Court lineups gave a rat's ass about the citizenry. While a law student in the early 1980s I was dismayed to discover how self-serving and convoluted Bill of Rights analysis was/is. Sure we have " Fundamental Rights ".... rights that are so important to freedom and democracy that to be restricted there must be " a compelling state interest " to justify such intrusion or restriction. Translated into layman's terms this simply means that one has freedoms UNLESS such freedoms would interfere with the establishment's ability to perpetuate itself and preserve the status quo. See.... in reality " a compelling state interest " is what a " Fundamental Right " protects one from to begin with !!! So to allow such a right to be restricted or eliminated because the establishment has what it believes to be a " good reason " to me defies logic. To add insult to injury a decision like that in Citizens ( Corporations ?? ) United which fails to acknowledge such a " compelling state interest " because it was not to the establishment's advantage to find one just highlights the hypocrisy of our so called " free society ". If a U.S. Supreme Court Justice does not feel bound by precedent he or she should at least be bound by " intellectual honesty ". Silly me !! Of course I'm not even addressing the issue of a corporation being deemed to have constitutional rights because the very idea is so... well, FASCIST. I decided to attend law school in hopes of learning the way to sink the ship of fools I call the establishment. It became apparent early on that this was a near impossible task and over the last 27 yrs. since I graduated it has only gotten worse. Good luck folks..we are going to need it !!

At 1:54 PM, Anonymous Henrietta G. Tavish said...

As noted above, nothing in the First Amendment restricts speech rights to "persons," so arguments about whether corporations are persons are besides the point. Moreover, the amendment specifically anticipates that speech rights will be accorded to at least one category of non-persons -- the "press" -- and does not restrict that right to media corporations.

The melodramatic arguments about what people can do (dance, feel, suffer) are irrelevant to the issue of corporate speech rights. Should a person who can't dance or win a Nobel prize be denied speech rights? Furthermore, the arguments are frivolous in view of the facts of the case, which involved the right to broadcast a documentary on cable or satellite to an audience of 50,000 or more. Virtually no "person" is capable of that; and that us precisely why the people involved assembled into a corporation to offer the documentary to the public.

At 4:00 PM, Blogger Jefferson's Guardian said...

Henrietta, your circular argument will get you nowhere with me. As a matter of fact, being like most women, I'm sure you'll insist upon having the last word, which being the gracious gentleman that I am, will gladly relinquish to you. However, before doing so, let me remind you that your statement that "arguments about whether corporations are persons are besides the point" is totally misleading and unjustified. In fact, it's the whole point! The discussion at hand is whether "artificial persons" (i.e., corporations, et al) are considered persons within the framework of the U.S. Constitution as conceived and written by our Founding Fathers. It's the total point, and nothing but the point, in regards to the discussion and this article.

Please humor me as I refer back to my previous statements regarding the original wording of the Declaration of independence. The people who fought to become independent of their colonial oppressors, upon winning their independence, set forth to establish a government which would be unlike any other in the known world at that time. They chose to instill democratic processes that would be for the people, and established by the people. They had no interest in including artificial entities within this framework. This is very clear in the opening remarks:

When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed...

To think that these same men, fresh from victory in a grueling war that took many of their family and their fortune, would succumb to the belief that another potential oppressor should become equal in their eyes and hearts as natural persons, is gratuitous at best, as I've already stated, and totally insane in the minds of any rational and thinking individual. As a matter of fact, for the first one-hundred years of this country's history, corporations were kept on a short leash and had limited power and limits of existence. It wasn't until the debacle of 1886, in the case of Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Company, when the court reporter's headnote mentioned "corporate personhood" for the first time, that things drastically took another direction. From that time on, the whirlwind of court cases rode this mistaken notion until we now have corporate personhood being accepted by far too many who are ignorant of its history and understanding. (END OF PART 1)

At 4:05 PM, Blogger Jefferson's Guardian said...

The Preamble of the U.S. Constitution begins, not coincidentally or by mere happenstance, with the words "We the people..."; not, "We the people, both natural and not natural..." The government framework, in fact the whole premise of this experiment in democracy, was being written by the people for whom it would benefit: "The People":

We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Your defense of the SCOTUS, and its latest contention that supports the mistaken notion, or legal fiction, that corporations are persons, only supports my feeling that our country has democratic processes in name only, and that the freedoms we have learned to adore, and fight for, are only fragments of a bygone era which will never occur again. (END OF PART 2)

At 6:50 PM, Anonymous Henrietta G. Tavish said...


(1) The Constitution, not the Declaration of Independence, is what SCOTUS interpreted in Citizens United. I've provided the text of the relevant Amendment at 1:58pm above. You should read it carefully, along with the entire decision, before commenting further.

(2) As noted above, the issue is whether non-person entities have speech and press rights, not whether corporations are natural persons. Neither the majority nor the dissent contended that they were. You continue to disregard this simple point in favor of a theory that mo member of the court found significant.

(3) It doesn't matter how many times the D of I mentions "people" because the Constitution plainly accorded rights to non-persons. The Fifth Amendment prohibits the taking of private property without just compensation. No one would seriously contend that the government could seize a corporation's assets for nothing just because it wasn't a person. And as noted above, the First Amendment prohibits laws restricting speech, without limiting its scope to natural persons.

(4) If, in fact, the "people" language of the D of I somehow controls, your whole theory collapses before we can reach the Constitution. The statute would be automatically invalid because it wasn't passed by a person -- but by a legal fiction known as "Congress."

(5) Under you theory, Congress could ban non-person bookstores from selling books critical of candidates at election time, or bar Amazon from offering such books for download over Kindle. That is EXACTLY what the government contended at oral argument, and you should thank God (who is mentioned in the D of I) that they did not prevail.

At 5:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is in response to your post on The BigotBasher (so mis-named!)

So Tom Degan from Goshen, NY,

Anyone who disagrees with you and votes for your opponent is stupid!? This is another great example of liberal bigotry. If I disagree with you I explain the points of disagreement, my reasons and then we leave it there, that we disagree; because this is what mature human beings do. If you disagree with my position you: 1. ignore my argument totally, 2. resort to ad hominem, vicious and personal attacks including name-calling, 3. Self-righteously proclaim 'i really showed them' , 4. Try to shout down, force off the stage or any possible method to silence those with whom you disagree, 5. Then smugly crawl back into your mothers homes' basement eating snacks and growing fatter, never really having any real social skills or life, (perhaps!?)

There's only one thing left to say: LOSER!!!

I rarely waste time responding to lunatic rants from impotent fools, but since I couldn't sleep, why not have some fun for a minute or two? That's about as long as I can put up with such foolish, illogical and pathetic ramblings!

To finefroghair, you must be homophobic, accusing someone of being gay. Isn't that a hate crime? Or is anyone that dares to disagree with you unworthy of respect and should be silence? Perhaps they should be sent to a "re-education camp" until they are no longer a danger to the 'people', just like in Cuba, North Korea, and of course, the former Soviet Union!?

To all who are so anti-corporation, (which is right out of the Communist Manifesto), I remind you of a quote, "Government is not reason, it is not eloquence it it Sheer Force! Like fire it is at best a troublesome servant, at worst a fearful master. Never should it be left to irresponsible action." What despicable human debris could have made such a statement? I'll leave you to guess, except to say he had a huge place in American history, being the first in so many ways. (No, not the first to come out of the closet!)

Even though I'm posting as anonymous, my handle is Radical American Patriot and my name is Steve.

At 5:07 AM, Blogger Tom Degan said...

Well, now! Welcome to "The Rant", Steve! And please keep those hysterical posts coming!

That was meant as satire, right? It could only have been so.


Tom Degan

At 11:32 AM, Blogger Cirze said...

Okay, sweetie.

I'll do it for you.


I'm not wishing for him to die - oh, perish the thought gentle reader! That's certainly not my style!

At 1:38 PM, Blogger Cosmic Navel Lint said...

So, in summary (and to paraphrase): we all get the government we can afford... and if you can't afford it, or at least contribute to it, then you can't expect it to represent you.

In essence, the battle cry has transmogrified from being one of, "No taxation without representation!", to one of, "No representation without contribution!"

This does raise the question as to whether the US is actually a sovereign state any more; or just a loose melange of corporate state-lets and bought-n-paid-for special interest groups masquerading as government?

Viva la Cartels? Libre la Lobbyists?

At 2:03 PM, Anonymous Henrietta G. Tavish said...


It's not question of being pro or anti-corporation. It's a Constitutional question of associational speech rights. Just be glad that the SCOTUS majority had a firm grasp of the issues involved, rather than the people you imagine are insulting you on this blog.

At 2:29 PM, Blogger W.D. Shirley said...

So, prior to a Justice tossing in a random phrase which gives corporations civil rights they simply had legal rights? Okay, I am not a lawyer but I am a philosopher and artist, so I can get just as obscure. We know the Founders did not regard humans as beings like themselves, because they gave no rights to women and blacks, and later ever fewer rights to Asians. Black men approached person-hood at some fraction of a voter.

A Corporation is a group of people, let's say. They can be black or white or Asian. Oh, hell, why not let the natives in too? So you and your chums want to do something as a body in the financial sector: build an apartment block. You sign a legally binding agreement defining your relative stakes in the endeavor and your liabilities and you file it with the State Attorney General or whomever. Now you are a part of Blockheads, Inc. The problem occurs some years later that nobody wants to live next to a swamp and you want to put the assets into receivership and terminate the corporation. Because you did not read the paperwork well you find your partner gets ownership of the corporation's time share in Jamaica while you only get your pick of the office furniture. That's legal as owlshit, no problem. You shoulda read it with your lawyer next to you.

Now, here's example two: two accountants walk into a bar. After drinking a few hours one spies a high-end hooker and decides to leave with her. The other man agrees, but demands that the termination of the evenings pub crawl gives him the right to the first man's kidneys and left hand.
See, that's just impossible to enforce, Shakespeare notwithstanding.

That's why corporations can have different rights from humanity, however you define humans. Apparently our President defines Muslims caught in Pakistan as "not near human". So IF we had a system of representational government which "represented" the "people", there would be no question. Corporations have special legal rights including the right to be dismembered by it's partners, whereas people, including board members, have the right to spend money to influence elections, but not the right to dismember partners. And THAT, my chums, is the problem here. NOBODY should be able to influence an election with an impact potential relative to their bank accounts, be they human bodies or legal bodies such as corporations. That is the problem! The only thing that should influence the voters is the candidates themselves and the stands they make. To that end I suggest that: nobody can buy political ads, and every candidate MUST write their own speeches and provide objection medical judgments that they are psychologically fit for duty. That would have eliminated both George Bush and Dick Cheney, Bush for his sub-standard IQ and Cheney because he is a sociopath.

Money is not speech. It only communicates information about itself and that information is always the same. Giving money to a politician is not speaking to them. It is bribing them. You give money to someone for future service and you are buying them. So, bribing or buying, nobody should be able to do so with our government. Elections should be 100% free and therefor must last over a period of time in order to give every legal voter the time to understand the vote and to register it. Otherwise we will always be in danger of losing our rights as human beings. Under the patriot Acts none of us have any civil rights any more.

At 2:51 PM, Blogger Ellis D., Esq. said...

Well......that is the end result of capitalism isn't it ?? Representation based upon wealth ?? To the person who can't envision a system that does not use monetary about a system that provides vouchers to those who qualify for them by fulfilling their obligations under the social contract ?? Vouchers for what ?? Food, clothing, shelter and health care for starters. If greedy unenlightened capitalists feel the need to one up each other and partake in silly ego games GO RIGHT AHEAD !! Just don't do it by taking advantage of everyone else !! Henrietta...there is a huge difference between offering a book for sale to people who have a choice whether to buy it or not and inundating all media forms with propaganda aimed at brainwashing folks who are not all that bright to begin with. Especially a captive television audience. The people susceptible to brainwashing are not in general the people who read books. To claim corporations are really people too i.e. corporate officers and boards of directors etc. ignores the fact that such persons tend to be psychopaths or sociopaths who care about NOTHING other than corporate profits. In this regard they have no conscience or sense of social responsibility. It's all about the money which they don't want to share but keep to themselves with obscene bonuses rewarding themselves for their selfish behavior. I say if a corporation wants to finance political ads make them pay DOUBLE in tax what they spend on the ads. Now that would slow them down considerably !!

At 4:27 PM, Anonymous Henrietta G. Tavish said...

NOBODY should be able to influence an election with an impact potential relative to their bank accounts

Actually, that's pretty much all elections are about. One of the primary motivators is financial self-interest, whether it be human or corporate (and corporate interest is ultimately human interest, because humans are who who ultimately get the corporate money/products).

Henrietta...there is a huge difference between offering a book for sale to people who have a choice whether to buy it or not and inundating all media forms with propaganda aimed at brainwashing folks who are not all that bright to begin with.

In Citizens United, a documentary about Hillary Clinton was being offered on a voluntary, downloadable basis. No one was forced to watch it. And in any event, anyone who doesn't want to watch a political ad can just flip a switch, as they do with ordinary commercials. It's not really all that difficult.

Neither the majority or dissent in Citizens United accepted your premises that "people are stupid." If they did, Congress would be entitled to enact many more laws limiting their rights to those of children. And your argument would support giving corporations even greater rights than people. Why shouldn't a huge pharmaceutical corporation, which spends billions doing research on live-saving drugs, have a greater say on healthcare policy than a pot-smoker who can't tell aspirin from Tic-Tacs?

At 4:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The problem is the enormous influence big corporations/money has on the election process. I don’t have a problem extending certain rights to corporations, such as the right against self-incrimination and the right to privacy. I as one of the owners of a corporation want my investment and business dealings protected just as if I were acting independently.

So where exactly would the elimination of corporate personhood stop? What about
non-profit, charity type, corporations? There are many individuals who rely on organizations to represent them because they are unable. Would you restrict their right to free speech? If you restrict for profit corporations, non-profits will pop up to represent them. I ask these questions because I can see the positive aspects to corporate personhood. Corporations are not just the big bad Exxons and UAWs of the world.

For-profit corporations need to represent the financial interests of their shareholders, but certainly not the shareholders’ political interests, even if they impact the financial interests of the corporation. Many corporations are so large that a few board members wind up representing thousands if not millions of shareholders through campaign contributions; this is clearly wrong from any perspective.

There is no easy answer. But limiting campaign contributions/supports/advertising and having better transparency to avoid doubling up, would be a start. Removing big money, from corporations and individuals, from the election process will go far in returning this country to the people.


At 4:56 PM, Blogger Ellis D., Esq. said...

Oh come on Henrietta.......change the television channel ?? The power of Madison Avenue advertising will mesmerize folks long enough to at least subliminally brainwash them. Corporations push needless if not useless products on people and create mindless consumers of goods that only cause pollution and harm. Products are made to be replaced and generate additional income for the producers. I think whether or not the majority or the dissenters want to accept the fact that society has an obligation to protect the less intelligent from being taken advantage of doesn't change that obligation. The pooling of resources for the common good is much more conducive to a workable society than the model of corporate greed we follow in Amerika. Don't pretend that corporations are motivated by any type of is profit and greed that get them out of bed in the morning, nothing else factors into it.

At 4:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If unions can puor money into a campaign then corporations shoild be allowed to as well. Many coprporations would have backed Obama anyway this last election (and, Yes, I am dserious), although they won't next time. Free enterprise needs a say in this to stay alive.
And that list was rediculous. Without corporations you wouldn't be giving a Grammy/Emmy/Oscar/etc. to anyone because you wouldn't have a way to be exposed to any of those art forms.
Climb out of your play-pen and get a job. Try working for a corporation or bank. You'll actually have to work though or they will fire you.

At 5:06 AM, Blogger Tom Degan said...

You obviously did not read the ruling, did you?

C'mon! Be honest!

At 9:48 AM, Anonymous Henrietta G. Tavish said...

Michael Moore, although he disagreed with the decision, revealed exactly why the Supreme Court could not have ruled otherwise:

MICHAEL MOORE: Well, the Supreme Court case that was decided was based on the fact that the Federal Elections Commission declared this anti-Hillary ad an ad. And the other side was—they were calling it a documentary.

MICHAEL MOORE: And the FEC said, no, this is an ad, and you have to follow the election laws. In terms of where the money comes from, you have to report this. They said, no, it’s just like Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11. That was produced and distributed by a corporation, the Weinstein Company, etc., etc. And so the justices—they all had this discussion about how—why did Michael Moore get to distribute his film and not have to deal with the FEC, and they did? And that was the case that was decided. The justices decided, yeah, that’s not right. And so, we’re just going to let—now open up the floodgates and let all this money pour in. So I—

AMY GOODMAN: So you’re the cause of this?

MICHAEL MOORE: Well, I’ve got to tell you, my own Catholic guilt and my own—I have thought about this for the last few days. Not that I’m the cause of it, but, you know—see, the thing is, and this is where—this is how they got away with it, is basically, you really never want the government, any arm of the government, whether it’s the FEC or the Supreme Court, deciding who can say what, period.

Period. Indeed.

At 10:17 AM, Blogger Cosmic Navel Lint said...

Just to add some much-needed context and perspective to this: it's all very worthy, warm and fuzzy-feeling-inducing to wax poetic with lines like Moore's, "...basically, you really never want the government, any arm of the government, whether it’s the FEC or the Supreme Court, deciding who can say what, period...", when, in fact, no one is attempting to do anything of the sort - and, importantly, it misses the unavoidable truism that people have been talking bullshit and uttering nonsensical tripe for millennia, and just because they have the 'right' to talk bullshit doesn't mean or militate that we should A) give them a moment's credence, or B) take them remotely seriously.

By way of illustration, some of you may remember these Historical gems of dissemblance and deliberate misdirection (lies, in other words) enacted upon the American people:

"Death panels", "Obama's a Moslem", "Obama has no US birth certificate - he's a Kenyan", "Obama's a Socialist/Communist/Marxist*" (* delete as appropriate/inappropriate)...

At 11:14 AM, Blogger Ellis D., Esq. said...

If Amerikans were truly well educated and capable of critical thinking and meaningful analysis, this case under discussion would not be an issue. Bullshit would be readily perceived as such. Arguments with true merit would prevail. Unfortunately what we have in Amerika is an under-educated, brainwashed, manipulated citizenry totally incapable of making decisions in their own best interests. The trust Amerikans have in our government is so unwarranted and so blind to reality that our citizens get taken advantage of in almost all aspects of life. Back in my day we had a saying...." QUESTION AUTHORITY ". Which we did.....then we got shot at and killed by the National Guard !!! If you suckers out there still think the establishment is your friend, I can't help you. Trust me the establishment is NOT your friend, far from it !!

At 11:15 AM, Anonymous Henrietta G. Tavish said...

when, in fact, no one is attempting to do anything of the sort

That's exactly what the government was attempting in Citizens Union -- they prohibited the creators of a documentary critical of Hillary Clinton from offering for download on cable. The fact that you believe that other mistruths are being told on other subjects doesn't make this simple fact about Citizens Union untrue. Moreover, some of the things you believe to be untrue are true, or substantially accurate:

Death panels

Yes, the government would be rationing health care (just as insurance companies do) and making decisions about who gets the resources to keep them alive or extend their lives, and who does not.

Obama's a Moslem

He was identified as a Moslem when he attended school in Indonesia. He now claims to be a Christian, although he is most likely an atheist. So yes, it's probably a lie that he's a Moslem, Obama is lying about his faith as much as anyone else.

Obama has no US birth certificate

True. He has produced only a "Certification (not "Certificate") of Live Birth", generated by a state computer in 1987. The document purports to be based upon "vital recofds" that certain state officials have reviewed, although in that regard they have contradicted themselves about what they actually saw. Obama has never produced the contemporaneous, 1961 Certificate of Live Birth, signed by the delivering doctor and other witnesses. As it stands, the evidence currently suggests that one was never prepared -- the state relied on affidavits provided weeks later by family members.

he's a Kenyan

False. There are contemporaneous newspaper accounts of his father giving birth to a son (although he is not mentioned by name. This is strong, as thusfar unrefuted, evidence that he was born in Hawaii.

Obama's a Socialist/Communist/Marxist

Partially true as to socialist, but largely a matter of opinion. Obama does employ some common Marxist tactics, but because he is such a weak leader in practice he has succumbed to mostly capitalist, Wall Street influences.

I hope this clears things up for you.

At 11:26 AM, Anonymous Henrietta G. Tavish said...

Correction: Obama's Certification of Live Birth was issued in 2007, not 1987.

Ellis, the FEC is part of the "Establishment." So nothing SCOTUS ever did could satisfy your concerns, because the establishment would still be deciding who gets to speak, which corporations have press rights, etc.

It's also not clear what, in general, your views on the proper function of the government is. One the one hand, you suggest that Americans are so stupid the government must think for them and do what is in their "best interest" without regard to elections. On the other hand, you believe that the government is a killing machine that can't be trusted not to turn ever peaceful rally into a massacre like Kent State.

At 11:35 AM, Blogger Ellis D., Esq. said...

Obummer an atheist ?? atheist who attends church ?? Now if that's not hypocritical I don't know what is !!!

At 11:47 AM, Blogger Cosmic Navel Lint said...

Thanks, Henrietta: alas, the only thing your last three posts do is bring into stark relief your palpable inability to deal in facts without being hopelessly and intractably inaccurate and partisan. Sorry, but those self-donning blinkers suit you.

That being the case, and by way of homage, here's a video of you and your spiritual kith-n-kin, on a teabagging session in DC - although outside the US, this clip is used as a source of satirical material, and not a manual for life:

The DC Tea Party - and how H.L. Mencken observed Democracy


At 11:50 AM, Blogger Ellis D., Esq. said...

Henrietta.....I believe the only LEGITIMATE purpose of government is to protect and care for those who cannot protect and care for themselves. The establishment CREATED the dumbed down citizenry to be able to keep control and eliminate dissent. See in my world folks actually trust and help one another because that is the RIGHT thing to do. In my world one utilizes one's skills for the common good, not for the selfish needs of those in power or control. Humans are different from animals in our ability to reason. Therefore is not necessary to live in competition for survival. We all should work together not against each other. Government should merely oversee this process.

At 3:05 PM, Anonymous Henrietta G. Tavish said...


Since you don't specifically address a word I've said or otherwise explain your rather generalized conclusions, I'll take your response as a concession. Your level of discourse approximates those of the teabaggers in that video.


Bill Maher and others have commented on Obama's atheism. He candidly admitted in "Dream from my Father" that he selected Rev. Wright's church merely to advance his political career by making the right contacts in Chicago's African-American community. He doesn't attend church anymore. As to atheists going to church being hypocritical, in most cases it's merely a matter of respect and accommodation for family.

Thanks for explaining your political philosophy. I'm still not sure how it would be applied, as a practical matter, to campaign finance law, but I've said as much as I can on the subject.

At 3:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You need to read the John Stossle article "A Blow For Free Speech"

He's so right about this issue.

At 3:58 PM, Blogger Tom Degan said...

If John Stossle is right about this issue it'll be the first time in decades that he's been right about anything. But I'll be sure to check out the article. Thank you so much for the link.


Tom Degan

At 4:07 PM, Blogger Cosmic Navel Lint said...


you comments coming, as they do, from an anonymous noise across the Web, I can't really see how anything you have to say might resonate much with anyone else much beyond your own self-gratification - but preaching to your own prejudices seems to be a metier of yours, so at least you're playing to your strengths.

Neither does it detract from my previous illustration of you being merely an empty partisan vessel; and one with a warped sense of your own importance who tries to paint his/her own inadequacies as "concessions" in others. That's a clichéd habit known as deflection, and is as transparent as daylight.

Just as a suggestion, and for your next posting, do you think you might trouble us with having a point? Or at least an original thought?

Pretty please?

At 4:29 PM, Anonymous Henrietta G. Tavish said...


I've made numerous, specific points which you've failed to address regarding the application of the Constitution to Citizens Union, Obama's policies and documentation, etc. etc. My pointing out your silence on the precise matters raised isn't deflection, but simply an observation. The default assumption when a debater has refused to address a point, but instead engaged in empty insults, is that the debater has conceded the point.

If you can show me where you've specifically addressed any the issues I've raised (other than conclusory allegations of "partisanship") them, feel free to identify the points and quote, verbatim, your response. Otherwise, I'll make no further response to you. You've added nothing to the discussion but the sort of anonymous noise you purport to condemn.

At 4:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I noted that you posted on NQ in response to a post that featured an article that I wrote, along with Karen Renick, in response to the SC's recent decision.

I appreciate what you said, particularly, the part about the decision being "despicable". I totally agree.

Unfortunately, as my article pointed out, if the American people can easily understand the corruption that corporate money brings to the elections process, then they must be able to readily see the corruption that exists because of corporate made voting machines that can be programmed to alter the votes to ensure a certain outcome.

These machines count the votes totally in secret and no citizen can be sure whether their votes were counted as cast.

If we really want to defeat corporatisim in our country, we must unite and demand the return to a properly administered hand counting of the votes, in public, for all to see.

Let's not forget that the SC interferred with the Florida SC in the 2000 presidential election and stopped the counting of the votes by hand.

This recent decision is the final nail in the coffin for democracy, if we don't take back our elections, like the German people recently did, by banning e-voting and returning to all hand counts.

If former Nazi Germany understands the absolute necessity for public hand counts, then so should America.

Kathleen Wynne

At 4:45 PM, Blogger Tom Degan said...

"If former Nazi Germany understands the absolute necessity for public hand counts, then so should America."

Words that should be etched in granite, Kathleen. Thank you so much for that. Now if you'll excuse me, I've got to go find my chisel!

Love and Peace,


At 6:53 PM, Blogger Cosmic Navel Lint said...

Hick Henrietta,

You're saying nothing new, so I'll just refer you to my previous replies.

At 12:25 AM, Blogger Jefferson's Guardian said...

Tom, I suppose that since it's a foregone conclusion that corporations, as artificial entities, are truly "persons" in the eyes of the court, wouldn't it seem reasonable that all large corporations, if not most, are practicing polygamy? After all, with all the current mergers and "marriages", per se (ExxonMobil is first to come to mind), wouldn't these combining of "lives" (more than one at a time) be considered illegal in most countries and states (except for Utah, possibly, which might look the other way).

This opens up the whole charade to unlimited and interesting possibilities, wouldn't you say? Not only does the polygamous charge become a real possibility, in the corporate entity's new and openly accepted status as "person", but if it's okay for same-type businesses to unite in merger ("marriage"), as ExxonMobil did, wouldn't it be equally legal for same-sex marriage with the human variety of person?

Just wondering? What do you think?

At 12:45 AM, Anonymous Henrietta G. Tavish said...


Despite my repeated explanations, you continue to misrepresent the ruling. The court did not say that corporations persons. It said that corporations had speech and press rights, because the First Amendment prohibits Congress from making any law abridging those rights. It's no different than the Fifth Amendment's prohibition against taking property without just compensation -- corporations also have property rights which prevent the government from arbitrarily seizing their assets. The fact that persons also have property rights, however, does no imply that corporations are persons.

I assume, at the very least, that you believe that newspapers have free speech rights. But this does not mean that the New York Times can marry the Washington Post and the Chicago Tribune.

At 9:25 AM, Blogger Ellis D., Esq. said... is easy to apply my social philosophy to political campaign financing. Public Campaign Financing would put all candidates on equal footing in their ability to get their platform known and their messages across. With all candidates limited to drawing equally from a common neutral source, FAIR elections with more candidates to choose from will then be possible.....a great improvement over what we have now !!

At 10:16 AM, Anonymous Henrietta G. Tavish said...

Public Campaign Financing would put all candidates on equal footing in their ability to get their platform known and their messages across. With all candidates limited to drawing equally from a common neutral source

(1) Does this mean that everyone except the candidates is censored and prohibited from spending money to publicly speak for or against them? Would I be prohibited, as a private citizen, from spending my money to set up a blog, print leaflets, publish a book, or pay for a newspaper or TV commercial, or make phone calls to friend urging them to support or oppose a candidate?

(2) If you're allowing private citizens to engage in speech or press activities, do you cap how much an individual can spend? If not, how will the playing field be equal if a billionaire is supporting one of the candidates?

(3) Even if you do cap individuals, how will the playing field be level if ten times more people support and run ads for one candidate than the other?

(4) With public funding, what if I don't want my tax dollars used to fund the campaign of the Nazi Party candidate, or the Democrat? Do the Nazi party, Democrat, Republican and Right-to-Life candidates each get the same amount of public funds, say, $1,000,000 apiece?

I won't repeat my objections to excluding corporations from speaking, other than to reiterate that the First Amendment prohibits government regulation of speech pr press without regard to the nature of the entity speaking or the media employed.

At 10:52 AM, Blogger Ellis D., Esq. said...

Henrietta....allocated tax dollars would be all that are allowed in the campaign finance till. The money would then be divided equally among the number of candidates so that yes the more there are the less each would get. As a result candidates would be forced to run campaigns based on SUBSTANCE and not mere Madison Avenue type propaganda. The fact that our tax dollars could be used by candidates we may disagree with is no different from our tax dollars going toward other things one may not wish to support....the DEA comes to my mind !!!

At 11:10 AM, Anonymous Henrietta G. Tavish said...

allocated tax dollars would be all that are allowed in the campaign finance till

I wasn't talking about money given directly to the campaign. I was talking about private expenditures, independent of the campaign, supporting or opposing a candidate. Under your theory, I couldn't even drive a bunch of friends to a campaign rally because of the gas money involved. Nor could I spend money to create a blog to comment on the candidates, or any of the other activities I mentioned in my last comment.

As a result candidates would be forced to run campaigns based on SUBSTANCE and not mere Madison Avenue type propaganda.

No, they'd do exactly what they do now -- run negative, personalized attack ads against each other, or meaningless, platitude-filled ads about how they want to cut taxes, support education, help children.

The fact that our tax dollars could be used by candidates we may disagree with is no different from our tax dollars going toward other things one may not wish to support

The average presidential campaign costs around $500 million. You'd support giving that same amount to the Nazi Party candidate, the Communist Party candidate and every person running for any of the thousands of political parties in the United States?

At 11:41 AM, Blogger Cosmic Navel Lint said...

I knew there was a sound reason I couldn't take Henrietta the Harpy seriously - try reading some basics, Henrietta, as you're guilty of breaking just about every one of these accepted Web customs - especially No. 1:

Internet rules and laws: the top 10, from Godwin to Poe

At 11:42 AM, Blogger Ellis D., Esq. said...

Henrietta.....I think you would be free to use your gasoline as YOU see fit. As far as the use of the funds by candidates representing groups you may disagree with, well that's what happens in a truly free society. In the free market place of ideas the ideas with the most merit will prevail UNLESS the voters have been brainwashed and conditioned by the establishment to the point that they don't even know what their best interests really are !! I think public money would go a long way toward enabling say a HIPPIE candidate to run for office. Someone who otherwise would have little hope of success because their constituents are mainly anti-capitalist and have little monetary wealth. Our hearts are gold, not our wallets !!!

At 12:22 PM, Anonymous Henrietta G. Tavish said...


I didn't compare anyone or their policies to a Nazi. I raised a very practical problem which frequently comes up in First Amendment jurisprudence concerning the free speech rights of disfavored or even hated groups. The issue of the Nazis' right to march in Skokie, or the Ku Klux Klan's right to post highway beautification signs, and similar issues, frequently come before the courts. Because Ellis was calling for the public financing of political speech, the question naturally arose.

I didn't read the full list, but if failing to address the issue raised is on it, you break it with every comment you post.


think you would be free to use your gasoline as YOU see fit.

And I'd be permitted to spend MY MONEY on millions of dollars of campaign ads, or a blog, if I saw fit?

As far as the use of the funds by candidates representing groups you may disagree with, well that's what happens in a truly free society.

No, in a truly free society the candidates are free to say what they want, without picking the public's pocket to do so.

I have plenty of idea you may disagree with. Why shouldn't the public finance everything I want to say, even when I'm not running for office. I think it would be a great idea for the Republicans to sweep Congress this fall. Should the public pay me $100,000 a month to get that message out?

At 1:03 PM, Blogger Ellis D., Esq. said...

Henrietta...if candidates have to rely on the wealth of their constituents to raise money to campaign I think such a society is far from free !! That would certainly favor the rich and put all others at a disadvantage. I want a society where wealth is not relevant to the process of governing. I want a society where the most intelligent and altruistic people make decisions that benefit as many citizens as possible....not what we have in Amerika today !!

At 1:52 PM, Anonymous Henrietta G. Tavish said...

if candidates have to rely on the wealth of their constituents to raise money to campaign I think such a society is far from free

I am still not clear on one thing -- regardless of how much money the candidates had to spend on their own campaigns, would citizens still be allowed to speak in favor or against candidates by spending money on their own blogs, flyers and ads?

At 2:10 PM, Blogger Ellis D., Esq. said...

Yes Henrietta the First Amendment would clearly provide this Fundamental Right, SUBJECT to the compelling state interest in limiting the amount any one individual may contribute. Until all civil rights are deemed absolute I think it is okay to REASONABLY limit them when there TRULY is a VALID justification for doing so ( and where applicable ) by the least intrusive means !!!

At 3:41 PM, Anonymous Henrietta G. Tavish said...


To be very clear on this, I'm NOT talking about a citizen's right to "contribute" money directly to a candidate. I'm talking about a citizen's right to make independent expenditures to finance his or her own political speech about a candidate. So:

(1) Would you support a law limiting a private citizen from spending more than $5,000 to independently advocate for or against a candidate, thus making it illegal for me to use $100,000 to produce an anti-Obama (or anti-Palin) documentary to put on YouTube?

(2) Do you believe that the law's prior restriction -- forbidding me to air it within 60 days of the election -- is "reasonable"? Note that that would pretty much stop me from commenting on anything that happened after the candidate's conventions.

At 5:34 PM, Blogger Monique said...

Tom, another good resource for how the American worker is being f-d in the a-s by corporations is the book
The Big Squeeze. Info about it can be found here:

At 7:40 PM, Blogger Ellis D., Esq. said... raise interesting questions with broad implications but I will try to address them as best I can. As far as a limit on how much one may spend to advertise for or against a candidate or an issue.....if it is so important to someone who is financially well off enough to spend the half mil or so I say fine BUT pay a TAX on it which could go toward say financial aid for college or graduate school students. Or go toward early education programs for the less fortunate people in our society. That would serve to create a balance between the potential harm to society arising from propaganda inundating YouTube by having impact beyond the election using the aforementioned tax revenue and thereby nurturing a more intelligent and less easily duped society. As to the 60 day rule you mention.......there are numerous voter protection laws on the actual Election Day. They are meant to prevent undue influence and intimidation at the polling places. That said, I think 60 days is a bit on the unfair side for pre-election " speech " but I can see the reasoning behind it. Maybe after years of reaping the benefits to society from the educational programs paid for by the wealthy folks who feel the need to influence others, such reasoning will no longer be justified !!

At 1:25 PM, Anonymous captainkona said...

Good, solid post, Mr. Degan.

No worries, I'll do it for you.
If Scalia and Thomas...or any of the RATS -(Roberts, Alito, Thomas, Scalia) stepped into the street and got run over by a greyhound bus I'd throw a party. Kegger, not Tea.

Those four traitors got punked by Obama at the SOTU and they deserve far worse. Scalia and Thomas have one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel. Time heals all wounds.

At 1:33 PM, Blogger Tom Degan said...


Aye! Aye! Captain! I love it!

Tom Degan

At 2:42 PM, Anonymous Henrietta G. Tavish said...

Those four traitors got punked by Obama at the SOTU and they deserve far worse

Obama punked himself. Although allegedly a former Editor-in-Chief of the Harvard Law Review and a Constitutional scholar, Obama confused the Constitution with the Declaration of Independence (erroneously crediting the former with the "all men are created equal" language), and announced the principle "if you abide by the law you should be protected by it (false; the law protects even those who violate it). These are elementary errors that not even a first year law student would make. An investigation into Obama's academic transcripts should be commenced forthwith.

Obama looked particularly foolish chiding the Supreme Court after these embarrassing gaffes. But even more embarrassing was how wrong his criticism of SCOTUS was, as acknowledged by even the New York Times. First, the court did not overrule 100 years of precedent -- the century-old law prohibiting direct contributions to candidates was not overturned. Second, the decision did not open the floodgates to contributions from foreign corporations. The court specifically declared that it was not ruling on that issue, which involved a different statutory section.

In any event, if Obama did bar electioneering by foreign corporations, he might have to shut down the New York Times -- it owes $250 million to Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, who holds a 6.4% common stock interest.

At 6:53 PM, Blogger Benjamin E. New Esq. said...

Hey Tom, nice blog. I find myself in much agreement with most everything you've articulated. Kudos!

At 11:05 PM, Anonymous RFE said...

Wow...what's with all this anti union nonsense by anon. commenter?
Q.-If Unions are so powerful why didn't they stop government from subsidizing the shipping of their jobs to china and 3rd world sweatshops?
A.- Union busters are far more powerful.

At 1:10 PM, Blogger every woman nyc said...

Hi Tom,
If corporations are now to be thought of as indivduals, why aren't they taxed as indivduals - on their gross income instead of their net income. I would love to be taxed on the money left over after I pay for food, clothing, etc. Fanciful, but just a thought.

At 8:17 AM, Blogger mike m said...

The First Amendment applies to groups of people as well as individuals. Groups of people are, in fact, made up of individuals.

Is donating money to a political campaign the same as Free Speech? I'll admit, it's a stretch. But that's not what Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission is about, is it? It's about political advertising. It's about a group of people, whether it be a corporation, a labor union or a PAC, airing their opinions. It wasn't even over the public airways, it was a PPV only "movie". It's not just about Free Speech, it's about Freedom of Assembly.

Freedom of assembly, sometimes used interchangeably with the freedom of association, is the individual right to come together and collectively express, promote, pursue and defend common interests.[1] The right to freedom of association is recognized as a human right, a political freedom and a civil liberty.

At 10:23 AM, Blogger carol said...

Can I just say this is the best blog ever? I spent way too much time yesterday snowed in looking at the archives.

Anyhoo, at this rate, corporations will have the right to marry before gays and lesbians.

Maybe they can adopt some orphans in Haiti?

At 10:50 AM, Blogger Jefferson's Guardian said...

Carol, they already do, but they legally call them mergers. They already adopt, also -- they call these legal instruments acquisitions.

At 4:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At 2:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In your warped viewpoint, the only corporations allowed to speak are THE NEW YORK TIMES CO and other left-wing sources. You have no problem with public employee unions bankrupting cities and states on behalf of their members, but you object to ExxonMobil or AT&T spending $$$ to get their message out. What are you afraid of ? Probably the fact that 99% of what you write and post is left-wing nonsense from left-over hippies and 1970's retreads.

Unions running phone banks and donating hundreds of millions to the Democratic Party ? That you have nothing to say about. But let a corporation spend a few $$ to PREVENT the government from TAKING MORE OF THEIR SHAREHOLDERS MONEY and you get your panties all wet.

That's the difference between liberal special interests and conservative special interests: conservative special interests and businesses are trying to STOP the government from taking what doesn't belong to them and giving it to welfare junkie liberal special interests who are not entitled to other people's money.

See if you can remember that Tom.

At 2:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everywoman, you're a perfect example of why women can't run a business. You ask why a corporation pays taxes only on NET income and not gross income like an individual ? Because they aren't the same thing and if you knew anything about accounting and GAAP, you'd know that. Corporations not only pay taxes, but the owners of that business -- the shareholders -- suffer double taxation on their share of profits. Are you taxed twice on your income? No. Of course, that assumes you work for a living and aren't sponging off the rest of us hardworking folks.

At 7:23 AM, Blogger stonemaster said...

Ted is Dead.Good fucking riddance. :)

At 9:08 AM, Blogger Cirze said...

I'm not wishing for this, mind you, but it wouldn't displease me any to see Thomas join Scalia on that journey.

Just sayin'!

(Kennedy could beg to go along too as he always does with them.)

Love your work!


At 5:50 AM, Blogger Tom Degan said...

Thank you so ever-so-kindly, Suzan. That's a lovely thing to wake up to.




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