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…)
Here is the link to the article that is criticized by this essay. You might want to read it first.
In “Let Us Now Praise Corporate Persons” appearing in the Jan-Feb 2015 issue of The Washington Monthly, Kent Greenfield, a self-described “progressive who teaches corporate law”, looks askance at “the corporations-are-not-people crowd” and complains that the core principle of our Movement to Amend “isn’t helping fix the problem – in fact, it’s making it worse.” (more…)
A court in Argentina ruled that an orangutan is a “non-human person” and as such has inherent rights. A court in New York ruled that a chimpanzee does not have any rights, and is not a “person” in the meaning of the U.S. Constitution. [http://www.care2.com/causes/landmark-ruling-an-orangutan-is-a-non-human-person-with-rights-says-argentina.html] The ruling against chimps comes in the nation whose corrupted supreme Court has ruled without justification that corporations are “persons” in the meaning of the U.S. Constitution.
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). (more…)
Why is Wisconsin Move to Amend endorsing, without any qualification or reservation, the”roadshow” slipping in to Mad-town on Sept. 6? Why is Wisconsin Move to Amend endorsing a “roadshow” which is being sponsored by national Money Out – Voters In, an organization in which national Move to Amend is NOT a member? The national Money Out – Voters In coalition enthusiastically endorses, without any reservations or qualifications, SJR 19, the DNC endorsed proposed Constitutional Amendment, but national Move to Amend does not endorse that proposal. (more…)
For a pioneering revolutionary document that established a democratic republic ten or 12 generations ago, it is surprising how little the U.S. Constitution explicitly talks about “the People”. This founding document shaped the clear outlines and principles of a new and independent government that was to be of, by, and for the people, while hardly mentioning the word, “People”. The key word “People“ appears once in the single ringing sentence known to all as the Preamble. And then it appears only one more time in all of the seven Articles which follow the Preamble sentence. (more…)
Why do words fail us? Why is demonstrable truth so widely and persistently disdained and ignored? Effective communication with integrity is essential for the people – you and I – to become informed and to take action necessary to establish, maintain and strengthen a democratic republic. But effective communication with integrity, even on a personal, one-to-one level, is very, very difficult in modern times.
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.
The right of the people to keep and bear arms is an inalienable right that is explicitly supported by our U.S. Constitution. All Americans should also recognize that the people – not corporations – are sovereign in a democratic republic, and only “the people” (not corporations) possess inalienable Constitutional rights, including the right to keep and bear arms.
Corporations and the super-rich now control both political parties, and all three branches of government in the USA, both state and federal. The two parties have established and enforced rules and legislation, which give them an exclusive monopoly, but which also prevents the people from obtaining government that represents and serves us best, even though we the people should be sovereign in a democratic republic. The two party lock permits complete corporate control of government simply because all that extremely rich and powerful corporations and individuals (and their associations) have to do is control those two parties. And that is exactly what they do.
“Corporations v. Persons : The Struggle that Will Define the 21st Century”
Actually, the struggle is even more serious than that.
It is corporations v. life as we have come to know it on Planet Earth.
It is corporate rule v. democracy and a bright future.
The central objective of “Move to Amend” is to amend the U.S. Constitution to establish that:
(1) Corporations do not have Constitutional rights – a corporation is not a person in the meaning of the U.S. Constitution; and
(2) Bribery will no longer be legalized in the USA – Money used to influence government policy, actions, officials, and elections is not protected as “free speech” and can be regulated.
Certain groups and individuals have attached to this Movement of the People, while simultaneously diluting and compromising it by instead asserting that the objective is to “defeat citizens united” and to “get money out of politics”. They seek to return to the status quo and restore certain inadequate “campaign finance reforms” that existed prior to 2010. That objective can do no more than return America to the corruption, the legalized bribery, and the corporate control of government that already prevailed then, and had long been frustrating our best efforts. (more…)
A Note of Respect and Gratitude to Debbie O’Dell Seneca, President Judge Emeritus of the Washington County, PA. Court of Common Pleas, for her Ruling in a Case involving Damages Suffered by Families due to “Fracking” (Extraction of Natural Gas) done by a Corporation:
Please accept my congratulations for your recent courageous ruling that a corporation does not possess Constitutional rights, and for asserting that, if corporations could claim Constitutional rights, then corporations would become a “… legal fabrication superior to the law that created and sustains it”.
I share with many people a deep concern about the struggle that will define the 21st Century – Corporations v. Persons. I have studied and, from time to time, written about this struggle for more than a decade, and a little over two years ago I finally felt impelled to personally dig into the tap root of the problem and closely examine an underlying question: “What, specifically, is in the U.S. Constitution that would allow a Supreme Court Justice to conclude that a corporation legitimately possesses the rights that are defined there as being the rights of a person?” I found an answer that has been overlooked for too long, and to our peril.
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…)