From his brimstone bed at break of day
A walking the Devil is gone,
To visit his snug little farm the earth,
And see how his stock goes on.
[First published on Groundhog Day, 2016, this significant revision was posted in January 2017]
About a billion years or so from now, changes in the sun’s energy output will end the ability of the now 4.5 billion year old Planet Earth to support life. We don’t yet know how or if we can deal with that far-into-the-distant-future problem. But today we are facing an imminent threat to life on Earth and we’d better not put it off. The incessant, increasing activities of human civilization are rapidly depleting and despoiling existing ‘natural resources’, and are simultaneously accelerating the degradation of the ability of this beautiful planet to sustain life. These unprecedented changes include widespread continuing destruction of natural life and ecology; damaging alterations of the planet’s oceans, surface and ground water; and the ominous increase of human produced toxins and global warming “greenhouse” gases in the atmosphere. Despite that, human beings are not the universal invasive species, and we can stop and repair the damage. (more…)
The following essay was written and completed in the days preceding the sudden unexpected death of Judge Antonin Scalia. So I dedicate this essay (and another one, previously composed) to his outrageous memory. Judge Scalia described himself as a “textualist” – one who believes that “[it] is the law that governs, not the intent of the lawgiver”. Judge O.W. Holmes described textualists as those who say, “We do not inquire what the legislature meant, we ask only what the statutes mean.” With respect for the scholarship of Judge Scalia, I submit the following accidentally timely essay, and one other directly relevant, certainly more important essay, each of which catch me employing truly “textualist” argument, such as was professed by Judge Scalia. (Scalia himself clarified that “textualism should not be confused with so-called strict constructionism, which brings the whole philosophy into disrepute. I am not a strict constructionist, and no one ought to be.”) Read it only if you can appreciate the irony of someone like me honoring the spirit of Antonin Scalia. Both of them are direct, concise, easy reading. And the one that follows, below, is also light-hearted.
You don’t have to be a rabid strict constructionist; you don’t have to believe that the wealthy, slave-owning, colonial “founding fathers” were invariably righteous and wise; you don’t have to believe that each word of the Constitution is sacrosanct and infallible; in order to be able to credibly refer to the actual text of the U.S. Constitution, and thus shed useful light on a question of Constitutional law that is terribly important to all of us.
This proof was first discovered and published in 2011, and improved and revised in January, 2017. Each of the five bullet points below contain a specific Constitutional reference and quotation. The arguments following each of these bullet points are independent of each other, but they mutually reinforce the contention in the title of this essay.
Article I Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution explains how the House of Representatives is to be “composed” and “chosen … by the People”. The third paragraph of Section 2 explains how Representatives are to be apportioned among the states by identifying and counting “Persons”. (more…)
LEADERSHIP, DISCIPLINE, AND DEMOCRACY IN OUR MOVEMENT
Some leaders of Wisconsin Move to Amend have just publicly announced that they are dis-affiliating from the national Move to Amend organization, and they are forming a new organization which they are calling “United to Amend”. The reasons for this action are not clear to me, and the reasons that I have been given are, on their face, not sufficient to fragment this so important, strong and growing non-partisan, truly grassroots Movement, which has such widespread public support. (more…)
The core principle of our Movement to Amend is not to end “corporate personhood” – it is to end corporate Constitutional rights!
“Corporate personhood” is legal-jargon. The phrase itself is a jarring counter-intuitive oxymoron. We all know that a corporation is not a person! For that reason alone, it’s easy for people to disdain that phrase without even thinking about it. But what does it actually mean? Or maybe the question should be, what do WE actually mean?
Is there truth in the legal theory that a corporation possesses the unalienable rights of a person, which are explicitly protected by the Constitution of the United States? Does the Constitution confer the rights of a “person”, or of “the people”, upon artificial legal entities we now know as “corporations”? What exactly does the U.S. Constitution consider to be a “person”? If corporations possess the Constitutional rights of a “person”, then corporate power rules our lives and our future. If, on the other hand, the people are sovereign in our government, and only the people have Constitutional rights, then we the people, in compliance with our Constitution, have full legal authority to determine the rules and the policies that organize and shape our lives. (more…)
On the historic occasion of Independence Day and Juneteenth, 2014, with honor and deep respect for the U.S. Constitution, the Gettysburg Address, the Abolition of Slavery, the Equal Rights of all Persons, and the Planet of our birth which has nurtured life and beauty for so long, here is submitted a statement of truth bearing importantly on the evolution and development of government that is of, by, and for the people. May we today be equal to the great task now before us of ensuring that that government shall not perish from the earth. And may we also, and thereby, become equal to what is likely the most dangerous challenge that humankind has ever faced thus far during our entire existence on Earth – a challenge that we ourselves have created, through technology and civilization – the consequences of our own cleverness and industry.
A proposed Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (1) to establish that a corporation is not a person, in the meaning of the Constitution, and (2) to establish that money is not equivalent to Constitutionally protected speech, and (3) to protect the sovereignty and the unalienable rights of the people under this Constitution.
One of the two key citations in the Constitution bearing on whether a corporation is a ‘person’ under the Constitution is the 14th Amendment, which contains four sentences employing the word “person[s]” – (the two sentences that constitute section 1, and the opening sentences in each of sections 2 and 3). The 14th Amendment was cited in the preface to an 1886 Supreme Court case. This preface was later exploited to massively rewrite corporate law using the unjustifiable legal theory that a corporation is a Constitutional ‘person’.
Is there any truth in the legal theory that a corporation possesses, by authority of the U.S. Constitution, any of the inherent, unalienable rights of a person? (more…)
Have you ever wondered what possessed members of the supreme Court to determine that a corporation is a “person”, according to the Constitution? Which passages in the U.S. Constitution (including Amendments) could certain supreme Court Judges have construed to support their determination (in contrast to common understanding and general usage) that a corporation possesses the rights that are explicitly defined for a “person” in the Constitution? Having researched and written about the consequences of this determination several times over the last decade, I became interested and finally compelled to get to this root of the problem. And so I once again studied the Constitution and its Amendments. But this time, I searched in particular for an answer to the question of how in the world anyone can conclude that a corporation possesses the specific Constitutional rights that are described there as belonging to a “person”.
I began by locating and highlighting certain words in the text (such as “corporation”, “company”, “person[s]”, “citizen[s]”, and “people”). Then I studied the context in which those words appear. My search was productive, with results that were startling, informative, and actually simple to comprehend and to share with you. https://clydewinter.wordpress.com/2015/11/19/666-word-proof-that-a-corporation-is-not-a-person/
My ol’ huntin’ partners, Sid D. Complex and Jesse B. Simple, and I were enjoying a couple beers together this Spring. Jess had just boggled my mind with one of his astute observations on the human condition. So I was trying to appear calm, and in full possession of my faculties while feeling more than usually uncertain and unbalanced.
Sid handled the silence that followed by deftly changing the subject. ‘Know what?’ inquired Sid. ‘The word “Person(s)” appears in the U.S. Constitution 22 times. And that same word pops up 27 times in the Constitutional Amendments (which averages once per Amendment). I know because I counted. But, the word “corporation(s)” doesn’t appear even once in the U.S. Constitution or in any Amendment. What the hell is all this noise about the Supreme Court declaring that a corporation is a person? That’s just plain nuts. A corporation doesn’t bleed, it can’t have kids, a corporation ain’t a person, anybody knows that.’
Smart-as-a-whip Jess came right back, without even pausing to take a deep breath or whet his whistle. (more…)