A Corporation Has No Inherent Right to Exist


A corporation is a legal entity organized through a set of arbitrary rules defined by people for the purpose of meeting some business aim. The concept of a corporation is a relatively recent one in human history and there is nothing about one of these organizations that should make it eligible for the protections that we ascribe to humans through laws like the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

The people that comprise the organization that we call a company or corporation have those rights as individuals. Those people also have responsibilities that are part of the social contract that makes it possible for us all to coexist as a group.

The individuals that own, run or are employed by a corporation have the right to believe in whatever faith they want. Like an increasing percentage of the population, individuals are free to not believe. Those are personal choices that cannot and should not ever been imposed on anyone else.

The corporation on the other hand is nothing more than arbitrary legal and the people that run the company must follow the rules that apply to all companies. The organization has no right to impose the beliefs of its owners or managers on others.

This is not a question of freedom of (or from) religion. Every American has the right. If a business is going to take advantage of the privileges granted to it under the law, it must also respect the rights of employees and customers. If the business owner or manager cannot deal with this concept, the corporation should lose those privileges.

The US Supreme Court has been wrong about corporate personhood for nearly two centuries. We must not grant human rights to an arbitrary organization that can spring up or be dissolved on a whim. The corporatocracy is winning and rapidly consuming what is left of American democracy. It’s time to reverse course before it’s too late, although I’m afraid that time may have already passed us by.

Even if the electoral college were eliminated, it might not make much of a difference…

Even if the electoral college were eliminated, it might not make much of a difference in how campaign money is spent.

This is another great visual representation of how the campaigns focus their efforts on a small proportion of states where there is a distinct possibility of turning the election one way or the other. These are the regions where support for the two major parties is split relatively evenly and the popular vote margins tend to be slim in either direction. The rest of the states tend to go much more one direction of the other. 

For example in California, where Obama got 59.2% of the vote, he got nearly 2 million more votes than Romney. Prior to the west coast state results coming in on Tuesday, Obama was running slightly behind in the popular vote despite having an edge in electoral votes. Similarly in Texas, Romney got 57.2% and a 1.2 million vote edge. 

Even without the electoral college, those states along with New York, New Jersey and most of the Old South probably wouldn't get much attention although the distribution might flatten out a bit. The bulk of the effort would still be spent on the purple states. Of course as demographics change in the future, that whole calculation will have to adjust as well. 

Reshared post from +Jeff Jarvis

Really superb NPR visualization of campaign spending. It's also a magnificent demonstration of what I tell NPR people all the time: No, your value is not making great audio. It's explaining the world well. 

Post imported by Google+Blog for WordPress.

It’s Time for Federal Judicial Term Limits

Yes, you read the headline correctly.  I’m calling for an end to lifetime appointments for federal judges.

Contrary to what most people on the extremes of the political spectrum (both right and left) will tell you, there is nothing wrong with evolving your opinions. In fact any sane and reasonably intelligent person needs to listen and learn throughout their life and occasionally adjust their views on various subjects.

I’d like to think that I fall into that sane and reasonably intelligent category. Certainly President Barack Obama does and much as he would be loath to acknowledge it, so would Mitt Romney. Both of these men have evolved their views over the course of their careers, more for political expediency than actual heartfelt beliefs, but at least their positions have moved.

Recently I’ve heard the idea of term limits for federal judges raised and I’m now inclined to agree.  In principle, I agree with the way that the judiciary was set up in the constitution. By appointing judges for life, it was supposed to remove partisanship and political considerations from their rulings.

However, in order for that concept to truly work, we have to appoint the superior jurists to begin with based on their qualifications and not their political ideology. The problem is that it’s exceedingly difficult to be an impartial judge that keeps their own political beliefs out of their rulings. As we’ve seen in recent decades, that becomes even more difficult with age.

We all know old people and most of will one day achieve that status. The fact is that as we get older we get more and more set in our habits and beliefs. It’s neither right nor wrong, it’s just the way we are.  However, the world is changing around us, and faster than ever today. That means that anyone that is going make decisions about the law, needs to adapt as well.

As hard as it is to select good judges, the problem is made even more difficult by politicians that are taking an increasingly hard political line.  Presidents have always taken politics into account when appointing judges, especially to the supreme court, but it does seem to have taken a turn for the worse in the last few decades and Republicans (and to a lesser degree Democrats) in the senate have truly politicized the process.

It’s time for us to acknowledge that despite the aims of the constitution, politics is a big part of the judicial branch and that we need to do something about that. Lifetime terms for federal judges have not had the desired effect of de-politicizing the judiciary as both Antonin Scalia and Samuel Alito demonstrated in their boisterous opinions from the bench this week.

Since we are clearly incapable of selecting truly impartial justices, and they only seem to get worse over time, I suggest we limit the terms of federal judges to 12 years.

I’m generally not in favor of arbitrary term limits for elected officials since this often leads to inexperienced legislators that can’t seem to do anything but bicker. I’d prefer to have voters cast out their representatives. On the other hand, I don’t think that direct elections of judges are a good thing either.

I think the president should continue to select federal judges with the senate confirming these choices. However, after 12 years, the judges must step down from the federal bench and never return. Like the Senate’s 6-year terms that are staggered so that only one-third is up for re-election every two years, judicial terms should be staggered.  In general no president should be allowed to appoint more than two supreme court justices in a single term. In the event that a judge dies, falls ill or resigns before their term is up, if more than two years remain in the term, the president can appoint a replacement to serve the remainder of that term.  If less than two years are left, the appointee can finish the existing term and a complete twelve year term.

Details would have to be worked out, but I think the time for lifetime federal judges is behind us and we need to evolve our views on this topic.

Ron Paul doesn’t believe in evolution

Recently Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul has been garnering a lot of grass roots attention. Even as an unrepentant liberal, a lot of what Paul says appeals to me because of his unequivocal stand on the Bill of Rights and ending this absurd war on terror. This anti-war/anti-police state stance is the main issue that seems to attract a lot of younger supporters who might otherwise consider themselves to be more left-leaning. Unfortunately, there are no Democrats aside from Dennis Kucinich who are so strident on these issues.
Unfortunately, as appealing as Paul’s stand is on these issues, he has some equally disturbing positions on other issues that just aren’t getting the attention they deserve. Paul has made it clear that in spite of his belief that the government should stay out of people’s private beliefs, that doesn’t apply to a woman’s right to decide whether to have a baby. Paul want’s the supreme court to repeal Roe v Wade and thinks abortion should be outlawed by states. Perhaps even more disturbing, when he was asked at a recent event about his response to a debate question on whether he believed in evolution, he made it clear that he does not. Any potential president who can simply disregard scientific evidence in this way has absolutely no business even being considered for the position. In an increasingly technological world with a lot of problems that we must address, it is critical that we have a president who has basic scientific literacy. On this count Ron Paul along with several of his GOP colleagues fails and should be dismissed from the race immediately.

George Bush must pay a real price for what he has done

I’ve heard about the reasons why some Democrats don’t want to pursue impeachment.  Bush has less than two years left, they don’t want to pay a political price for showing backbone, etc.  That’s not acceptable reasoning for backing down.  If Bush and Cheney are allowed to walk away in January 2009 without paying a price, it will send a tragic message to all future potential leaders.  It will say that they can essentially do whatever they want and as long as they play the “support your leaders in war-time” strategy and get away with it.  It is imperitive more so now than ever in our history, that both Bush and Cheney pay the price for repeatedly lying to the people of the United States, going recklessly into an unnecessary war, handling it with criminal negligence, and now persisting in pushing forward against Iran.

Our legislators must set a high standard for the actions of whoever is in the White House, now and going into the future.   Our constitution must be restored to it’s preeminent place in our nation.  They must move forward now and put an end to the madness that is our military misadventure in the middle East and hold those who are responsible accountable.

So why should we believe them now?

The White House announced earlier this week that they were going to end the warrantless wire-tapping program that they’ve had going for the last several years. Since the 1970s there has been a special court, that they could go to get warrants in secret to do surveillance. Bush, Cheney and Gonzales decided that they didn’t even need to do this much. So why should we believe that even now that they have said they will stop, that they actually will? Unless congress keeps up the pressure and actually goes after these criminals, I would say it’s a safe bet that they’ll just do whatever they feel like. Bush already said as much with regard to the war, so we can’t let up.

War profiteers

We were watching the documetary Iraq for Sale the other day, and it just never ceases to amaze me how corrupt everything associated with this war and the Bush administration is. One thing that the new congress should do is pass a law on war profiteering. Better yet, a constitutional amendment. If someone is found to be a war profiteer, they should be forced to pay back all money received from the government, and all officers of the company should receive a lifetime ban from ever doing business with the government in any way, shape or form. Furthermore, any company doing business with the government should be prohibited from any association with any individuals or companies who have been found to have been war profiteers.

Also all the tasks that were formerly done by military personnel such as maintaining equipment, security, feeding troops, etc, should be brought back into the military. A proper accounting system also needs to be established for the military. Past accounts are so screwed up that they can never be fixed, but all future expenditures need to be accounted for properly. Cost plus contracts also need to be eliminated, since they are a breeding ground for corruption. Past administrations from both sides of the aisle are to blame for this mess, but clearly the republicans will not take responsibility for cleaning it up, so the democrats must.

U.S. Constitution – Article 6

Article 6 – Debts, Supremacy, Oaths

All Debts contracted and Engagements entered into, before the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be as valid against the United States under this Constitution, as under the Confederation.

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

Enough said!

Who Cares Where I Was 18

Over the last few days I have repeatedly heard the question asked “Where were you on 9/11?” Who the hell cares. If you weren’t there, your location is utterly irrelevant. What happened, happened. Why do people insist on dwelling on such trivial shit? Americans in particular seem to love wallowing in the past. People who where alive at the time still think about where they were when JFK died 43 years ago. It is important to be aware of history and learn lessons about what to do and not to do so you don’t repeat the same mistakes. But it is even more important to live in the present. Replaying the video of past events ad naseum is neither helpful nor productive. It just contributes to the urge to wallow. We all know what happened. We all saw it. Let’s look at what is going on around us today. By watching the past over and over it just feeds the climate of fear. By keeping people afraid, it makes it easier to persuade people to give up their freedoms. The reality is that the chances of being a victim a terrorism are so infinitesimally small that it really isn’t worth being afraid of, not to mention fomenting fear is the whole point. If you live in fear you are more willing to tolerate the government watching you all the time, listening to your private phone calls, make you show your ID all the time. You might be willing to let people in power send your kids off to fight and die in a foreign land for now apparent reason. You might not be able to read or write what you want. You might even tolerate people being arrested and locked away indefinitely without trial or charges.

Hey people! Start living in the present and pay attention to the gutting of the constitution! Take a minute to remember on Monday, but then when the replays come on, turn off the TV and the radio and go for a walk and think about why you want to protect freedom. Then get write or read something that you might not be able to do without freedom. Don’t let politicians convince you to give up freedom to save it. If you give it up now it is already lost.

Just because your paranoid, it doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you 2

If your read my previous Bullshit post, or other posts you might get the impression that I’m paranoid or a conspiracy theorist. Nothing could be further from the truth. I just look around me at what is happening and what people say and come to my own opinions. Based on the “truthiness” record of anyone associated with Bush administration and real story that ultimately comes out after their highly touted terrorism “victories” I think anyone paying attention would be foolish not to be highly skeptical of anything that they say. Remember the Miami terror cell a few months ago?, the Tonawanda 6?, Jose Padilla?, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi? All of these were huge stories when they broke. But every one them also turned out to be much ado about nothing. The guys in Miami were a bunch of losers trying to hatch some plot, and they weren’t even Muslims. Padilla never actually did anything. Same with the guys from Tonawanda. And the violence in Iraq has only gotten worse since Zarqawi’s death. After each one of these instances, the media followed the Bush line and made a huge deal about important the bust was. However, once it became clear that there was nothing of importance in each case, the story was forgotten by the major media.

Now this morning, I saw on AmericaBlog that NBC is reporting that a senior British official is now acknowledging that no attack was imminent. This runs contrary to the words of Bush, Cheney, Lieberman et al, a few days ago. Evidently the suspects had not yet even purchased airline tickets, and most of them didn’t have passports. The White House obviously denies this:

“There was unprecedented cooperation and coordination between the U.S., the U.K. and Pakistani officials throughout the case,” said Frances Townsend, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, “and we worked together to protect our citizens from harm while ensuring that we gathered as much info as possible to bring the plotters to justice. There was no disagreement between U.S. and U.K. officials.”

I believe that in this case “unprecedented cooperation” means that we need to scare the people in the wake of Lieberman’s loss, and the British went along with it. The only hope the Republicans have of maintaining there majority in congress is to convince enough ignorant people this year that only they can protect them from the terrorists. But if people actually look at what has been claimed versus reality, they will see that not only can the Republicans not protect America, but they have utterly mis-managed everything they have touched in the past six years. Assuming that there even was a real plot (and I’m skeptical of that) I think that is more likely something along the lines of this cartoon Liquid bomb plot I saw yesterday on BoingBoing. We have a government that seems to be so set on keeping the nation in a constant state of fear and war (see 1984 for the rationale), that Al-Qaeda doesn’t have to actually do anything. They just have to plant some “plots” so they are found, and wait for the government to destroy democracy and freedom from within. I believe the ones out to get us and destroy are civilization are not the Islamo-Fascists, but the Christian-Fascists sitting amongst us.

It is time to ignore the warnings from the White House, and start working to bring into office people who actually believe in our Constitution and Bill of Rights.