hearts and minds

September 10, 2014

Is Half a Loaf Better than No Loaf? – A Deceptive Argument

The MOVI Group and the DNC are actively promoting this summer (in Madison and Milwaukee, Wisconsin this week, and throughout the United States) a Constitutional Amendment that waves the flag, Money is Not Speech before our eyes and the media cameras, but has completely disappeared the flag, A Corporation is Not a Person. Yet our non-partisan Movement of the People, based on both of these principles and demands, has been growing and strengthening for years (despite a near complete corporate media blackout).

National Move to Amend urges us to keep our eyes on the prize, to keep steady on course, and to avoid negotiating with ourselves, unilaterally compromising and unnecessarily surrendering our core principle. Move to Amend (and I) urge that we all spread the word that we will not consider supporting the DNC/MOVI proposal that fails to explicitly establish that corporations do not have Constitutional rights. Rather than the DNC/MOVI bill currently before the Senate, and being discussed in the corporate mass media, and unless and until it is extensively changed to correct its severe defects, Move to Amend endorses HJR 29, which happens to be sponsored by Wisconsin Representative Mark Pocan.

When simply ignoring Move to Amend and the core principle that a corporation does not legitimately have the Constitutional rights of a person doesn’t work, those promoting the unilaterally compromised DNC/MOVI Amendment make the argument that “half a loaf is better than none”, and “this proposed amendment may be far from perfect, but it is good for the cause because it has gotten media attention and the Senate is actually going to have a debate and vote on this issue”.

Those promoting the DNC/MOVI amendment act as though it is better to not clearly and publicly point out what is missing from this proposal, and to join in promoting half a loaf (money is not speech) than to continue to insist on the whole loaf (a corporation is not a person and money is not speech) at this time. But that is not true. It is foolish beyond words for our Movement to take our very first step by negotiating with ourselves, and unilaterally compromising and surrendering our core principle before the “debate” even begins. It’s unseemly, it’s cowardly, and it’s plain stupid.

One reason that we should NOT start by unilaterally (and without even getting anything for it) cutting the loaf in half, and then willingly, silently sweeping the “a corporation is not a person” part off the table before the “debate” even begins, is that the half-a-loaf that the DNC and the MOVI Group has left on the table is just a piece-of-cake for the RNC and corporate power.

As critically important as it is, establishing by Amendment that corporations do not have the Constitutional rights of a person does not actually involve changing the Constitution. Instead, such an Amendment would simply over-rule unjustified and unjustifiable Supreme Court assertions, beginning with a fraud way back in the 19th century, and would re-establish in law what the Constitution itself has always clearly stated on this particular point. Corporate politicians would have a very hard time indeed explicitly making the case, in open debate, before the people, that the Constitution itself establishes Constitutional rights for corporations. That’s because the text of the U.S. Constitution incontrovertibly and unambiguously establishes exactly the opposite. So corporate politicians cannot legitimately assert that an Amendment that establishes that corporations do not have the Constitutional rights of a person is a change in the Constitution itself, or an undermining of our Constitutional rights.

However, establishing by Amendment that money is not speech, and that expenditures on political speech can be regulated and even prohibited, can be construed as adding an explicit Constitutional restriction on freedom of speech. Unfortunately, we need that restriction, because the Supreme Court has cleverly (since Buckley v. Valeo in 1976) distorted and upended the unfortunate and vulnerable phrasing used in the First Amendment. But Republicans attacking a money is not speech amendment can and will have a field day posturing as stalwart defenders of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights against what they will characcterize as over-reaching, big government Democrats trying to change our Constitution by passing an Amendment that will take away our free speech rights.

And that is how the two corporate controlled political parties are seeking, beginning last May, to transform our Movement from a broad-based non-partisan principled Movement of the People to end corporate rule and establish democracy and defend the unalienable rights of a person, into a compromised, divisive partisan wedge issue.

My point is that, for technical but easily understood reasons, the “a corporation is not a person” half-loaf is far more difficult to split into a strictly partisan wedge issue, compared to the “money is not speech” half-loaf, which is easier to transform into a partisan wedge issue.

On the streets of America, nearly every person firmly agrees that a corporation is not a person. That doesn’t help those connivers who want to transform our core principle regarding alleged corporate Constitutional rights into a divisive partisan wedge issue. “A Corporation does NOT have the Constitutional rights of a Person!” is a concise, clearly understood, universally respected concept, with which virtually everyone agrees the first time they hear it, and also after they have thought about it for quite a while. On the other hand, an awful lot of everyday people believe, from bitter experience, the cynical cliche that money talks but bullshit walks. So we have to realize that even “money is not speech”, as good as that sound-bite of our second core principle is, does play into the hands of those who manufacture and exploit the divisiveness of partisan wedge issues. And so does, “Get money out of politics”, which often provokes outright laughter.

Just a few hours ago, the partisan “Daily Kos” made the following statement in support of the amendment proposed by the DNC and endorsed without reservation or condition by the MOVI Group: “It’s time to stop citizens united and change the constitution.” How’s that for avoiding brilliant thinking and effective use of language? How do you think that plays with carpenters and single moms on Main Street or Elm Street in any city or town in America? A whole lot of people think (some without thinking or knowing anything about it) that citizens united is a good thing, and that the Constitution – especially the Bill of Rights – shouldn’t be changed without an awfully damn good reason. Our worst enemy couldn’t have thought up a more stupid thing for us to say to the nation, than: “It’s time to stop citizens united and change the constitution.”

There is another important reason that the loaf has been whacked, and the “a corporation is not a person” part whisked away before the lights, cameras, and action were turned on this summer. Corporate power, together with the drastically increasing disparity in wealth and income between the super-rich and all the rest of us, has grown overwhelmingly in the many decades that preceded the 2010 ruling in the case “Citizens United, Incorporated v. the Federal Elections Commission”. Corporate power had already grown beyond all reasonable bounds by the beginning of the 21st century, and the disparity in wealth and income in the USA had been widening to a grand chasm for the forty years prior to that notorious case. Corporate power and corporate rule is based on the fraudulent cornerstone that corporations have the Constitutional rights of a person. So corporate power, and the super-rich who depend upon it, are absolutely unwilling to lose that cornerstone of their inordinate wealth and power over the planet and all its resources. They are unwilling to allow that cornerstone to be even discussed publicly. On the other hand, corporations and the super-rich are willing (though certainly not eager) to have the money vs speech question discussed publicly. Returning to the outrageous level of legalized bribery and corruption of government that existed prior to 2010 does not in any way threaten corporate control of both political parties and all three branches of government.

The overt initiative (which started in May) against our Movement of the People to end corporate rule, end legalized bribery, and end the fraud of corporate Constitutional rights, began with an effort to divide it in half, like Solomon proposed to do with the disputed baby. The half-loaf left on the table for all the people to see, and for the party politicians to “debate” (in SJR 19) is the money is not speech part, while the essential corporation is not a person part is intended to be silently “disappeared”. And the half-loaf left on the table is being transformed into a divisive partisan wedge issue. The reason this is being done is simply that is the best strategy to derail and possibly demolish our Movement right now. And that is what the corporate strategists and their masters, and those directing both political parties have ordered.

For further information and reference, see: https://movetoamend.org/
https://clydewinter.wordpress.com/category/a-corporation-is-not-a-person/ September 10, 2014

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5 Comments »

  1. Agreed, Clyde.
    I think the other metaphor I would use is that if your enemy offers you half a loaf, make sure it isn’t the poisoned half.

    Comment by Dan C. — September 10, 2014 @ 4:45 pm | Reply

    • Me? What I’d say is if you are offered half a loaf, make sure that it isn’t toxic before you swallow it.
      Maybe just a semantic difference.

      Comment by clydewinter — September 10, 2014 @ 8:41 pm | Reply

  2. BRAVO!

    Comment by Philip B — September 10, 2014 @ 9:02 pm | Reply

  3. […] are all kinds of arguments and excuses made for endorsing the corporate approved SJR 19, but national Move to Amend clearly does not buy, and is not fooled by those arguments and excuses […]

    Pingback by Snake Oil at the Roadshow in Madison in September | hearts and minds — September 29, 2014 @ 5:03 pm | Reply


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