Supreme Court

"Of course, Nader is simply wrong about what the Supreme Court did"

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Earlier this week, Ralph Nader took the pages of the Wall Street Journal to attack last month's Citizens United ruling for its "dire consequences for the nation's constitutional premise of 'we the people,' not we the corporations." University of Illinois law professor Larry E. Ribstein says Nader doesn't know what he's talking about:

Of course, Nader is simply wrong about what the Supreme Court did – it didn't strike down all limits on corporate or other contributions, just laws that single out for-profit corporations. Moreover, his horror stories display in more inflammatory language the same profound ignorance of how corporations operate, and of the constraints they face in participating in politics, as does the Citizens United dissent (see my initial post on the case)….

Nader's suggestions for dealing with Citizens United demonstrate the incoherence of restricting corporate speech. Topping his wish list is a constitutional amendment excluding "all commercial corporations and other artificial commercial entities from participating in political activities. Such constitutional rights should be reserved for real people, including, of course, company employees, to enhance a government of, by and for the people." But "the people" exercise their rights in groups, including non-profit corporations and other associations.

Nader does make one useful suggestion, however, which Ribstein happily endorses:

Nader would refuse "subsidies, handouts and bailouts to any company that spends money directly in the electoral arena." Here I'm not only sympathetic, but I'd take it a step further: let's just refuse subsides, handouts and bailouts period. Nader sees corporate speech as a problem because it helps corporations bend the awesome power of government to their will. One way to deal with Nader's problem is to reduce the awesome power of government. Until that halcyon day comes, we will face the question of government for whom. Everybody, including corporations, should have a say on that.

Read the rest here. Reason's coverage of Citizens United is here, our coverage of Ralph Nader is here.

[Via PointofLaw]

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  1. You guys don’t get it, do you? Corporations *can’t* speak. The argument that people organize as groups is a nonstarter. We’re not against people organizing as groups. What we’re against are entities created out of thin air that have rights. You want to pool resources, fine. But don’t tell me a corporation has rights or is even an entity distinct from the people who fund and operate it.*

    *I understand that’s the legal reality we live in. But it should not be this way.

    1. My fellow lions, what should we have for lunch?

      1. Mutton, it’s what’s for dinner.

      2. Mmm..the lovely fragrance of live sheep slowly roasting over open flame.

    2. You realize that our entire economy would collapse if people couldn’t get limited liability for passive investments and if corporations couldn’t own property, litigate, make their views heard, etc.?

      The left is batshit insane on this issue, I’m afraid.

      1. They’re so batshit insane about it that they’re willing to damage themselves even though they have no hope of winning this battle.

        Now that’s the kind of crazy I can get behind.

        1. “Winning” this battle for the left is possible with just one less-liberal SCOTUS judge dying.

          1. Prole, are you saying that ACORN is going to assassinate Scalia? That’s a heavy accusation, man.

            1. On the November 4, 1994 episode of the PBS talk show, To the Contrary, Malveaux summed up her feelings regarding Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas: “The man is on the Court. You know, I hope his wife feeds him lots of eggs and butter and he dies early, like many black men do, of heart disease. Well, that’s how I feel. He is an absolutely reprehensible person.

              1. Not a bad way to be assassinated, when it comes down to it.

            2. They would if they could get away with it, Epi.

          2. Why does the New Left so hate the central pillar of our constitutional republican form of government our U.S. Constitution? How is it that any person can so hate freedom and liberty? How can any living organism be content to surrender personal choice to others? How can one with even a single healthy brain cell just not get it…

            1. Making choices is hard Ratko. Instead of researching which car has the best safety standards or whether to go into business for yourself, it’s easier just to suck at the teat, file the BS paperwork, and watch 24 when you go home. That’s the problem we have to overcome…it’s just easier to be a useless piece of shit.

        2. Epi, decrying big corporations is rarely a losing issue politically.

          1. Sure, but freaking out over an issue where most people are thinking “free speech is good” and don’t have a matching animosity for corporations can be a losing issue.

      2. PL
        One can be all for the corporate form and still be unconvinced that they have speech rights. In fact it’s usually the very unique rights you mention granted to the corporate form which makes many think they pose a unique threat to the political process.

        1. Where in the first amendment does it say anything about speech rights? Nowhere. All it says is “congress shall make no law…”

          1. It specifically refers to speech and says Congress shall not pass laws abridging it. Most people I know simply say it protects free speech rights. Not grants them. Protects them.

            1. Yes, the Constitution did not invent and then give you your rights. You have certain rights no matter what the Constitution says, which is why we should not be making laws that restrict the free speech and security in property of certain individuals because they are part of a corporation. This is what McCain-Feingold did; it restricted the rights of corporate INDIVIDUALS.

            2. Do you understand what SCOTUS did in striking down law passed by Congress that abridged free speech?

              1. For the Nth time, corporations cannot speak. So laws prohibiting corporate “speech” are not abridging anything.

                1. If corporations cannot speak, there is no need for a law as they cant violate it even if they wanted to. Because they cannot speak. See?

                  Apparently they can speak? Or is it the individual members of Citizens United that made the commercial? In which case, the individual members have the right to speak. Either way, your argument just proves the point.

      3. ProL, I don’t see what that has to do with the pertinent question. I think most libertarians can agree that corporate entities are created out of thin air, that they are creatures of statute. The idea that they can speak is preposterous on its face.

        If the corporate form did not exist people could still organize and limit their liability. They would just have to do so via contract, not state-mandated fiat. Large groups of people can also contract to own property. The idea that a separate entity is required for all this is silly.

        Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying there aren’t reasons for doing things the way we do them now. Efficiency is the best. But it doesn’t make it not ridiculous if you actually think about it.

        1. Why treat one grouping of people different than another? Should a church have speech rights? A union? A newspaper? What about a sole proprietorship? A government body? A charity? A political party? A consumer advocacy group?

          Do you see what happens here? The right of association alone probably makes what you suggest impossible, but what meaning does the freedom of speech have if groups of people can’t speak together? Especially when trying to reach an audience larger than the people that can hear you shouting?

          Rights aren’t created by government. If government gets to pick and choose who can speak and what they can speak about, there is no freedom of speech. Look at the press–should they have to qualify as “the press” to have the freedom of the press? Should they have to register? Today, Fox News might be uncertified as “news.” Next time around, it might be MSNBC.

          1. Once again, the litmus test question is:

            Do you interpret “freedom of speech” to mean “freedom to speak to people within earshot of your unamplified voice?”

            1. Sounds like a scam to me.

              1. That’s what I’m sayin’.

                1. The more voices in the marketplace of ideas, the better. Why shouldn’t corporations have a voice? Is it because they sometimes act as a counterweight to certain groups ambitions that’s really at the root of this debate?

          2. The complaint is more about the corporate form than it is about speech. What I’m saying is that anyone or any group of people who organize in a way that creates an entity out of thin air (whether it’s a corporation, nonprofit corporation, limited liability company, union, or whatever) cannot claim their speech is speech of the entity. It doesn’t make sense.

            1. Some person or persons are physically speaking on behalf of the corporation. By restricting corporate speech, you are restricting the free speech of those individuals.

          3. Well, as you noted earlier not all groupings are the same. Corporations have unique legal qualities.

            1. Maybe you are a paid informant, or a prosecutor, or are disabled, or in some other way have “unique legal qualities” so therefore you should be singled out for denial of certain rights?

              Why are some people trying to make this simple issue so impossibly complex?

              Enormous effort was put into the clear wording of our constitution to prevent it’s intent from being twisted and perverted by those who would wish to do such.

        2. So you don’t really have an issue with people acting in concert to create media to desseminate ideasd, and you don’t have a problem in principle with limited liability. You are just objecting to people using a corporate form to excercise free speech is that you have a bug up your ass about the government providing a shortcut to create a limited liability organization. Really? I don’t even understand the logic behind how you come to the conclusion that corporations are excluded from the exercise of 1st amendment rights. It’s another tin foil hat bizarre obsession.

          1. Yes, it’s simply a tin foil hat objection to say entities created out of thin air — by state fiat, no less — do not have rights. I’m as libertarian as anyone on this board. So why am I the only one who has a problem with fictitious entities permitted to operate by state-mandated fiat, most of whom provide state-sanctioned limited liability to their organizers and employees without the need for any contract whatsoever? That doesn’t strike me as very libertarian.

            1. A corporation is not created out of thin air. It is created for the interests and purposes of the people who own the corporation. Yes, they are organized under rules supplied by a state givernment. Again, I do not understand why such an organization of people can have anything done to their property held under the corporation by the government. That’s what being “rightless” means, the federal government can absolutely anything it wants to those entities and the owners have no recourse to the law.

              You think that operating under those conditions is libertarian?

            2. The REAL question, before you even ask such a non-sequitir like “do corporations have rights?”, is WHY we should restrict people in coporations from speaking? Why?

              1. Why!? WHY!? Because they are evil money grubbing scum would stomp on the backs of children just to earn an extra 20 bucks!!!!

                In all seriousness, the obvious answer here would be instead to find ways to prevent the government from benefitting from partnership with corporations. Corporations should say what they want, and politicians should have limited terms in order to nullify their interest in even caring about extending their terms (i.e. taking money from Corporations, making laws that benefit some and punish others etc.).

            3. “How strangely will the Tools of a Tyrant pervert the plain Meaning of Words!”
              -Samuel Adams

              You are a “Tool” that is panfully obvious.

    3. I think you just successfully argued that people don’t lose their freedom of speech as soon as they organize as groups.

    4. “What we’re against are entities created out of thin air that have rights.”

      You just don’t get it, do you?

      It’s not about corporations having rights. It’s about “Congress shall make no law…”

      1. Just because the post can speak does not make your chances in the argument any better.

        Same with speaking walls.

      2. He/she doesn’t get it because he/she, as can be seen, has rejected the insecurity of free thought in favor of functioning as a parrot with a mission, a “do-gooder.” And do-gooders are always a pain, they’ll help sell you into slavery to make you free, they’ll help kill you for the public good, and they’ll never stop for one second to think about what it is they are doing. They are believers, they have faith, they are followers Logic and reason are alien and unwelcome in their worlds. Free thinkers threaten the contrived illusion that serves as their comforter, their security blanket. Free thinkers are the enemy.

        The German people aren’t evil, if they had thought they were doing evil they’d not been willing. Do-gooders function in peculiar ways, they couldn’t see the obvious right before their eyes, not even when they were marched through the death camp would many still believe what they had done.

        Free thinking is freedom’s best and only protection.

        It’s dissappointing that a third of my countrymen have rejected free thinking. Four solid decades of attempting to help these people come to their senses have resulted in a handful of successes for me. It’s a losing battle, for each one who wakes up, many many more sell themselves out. We’re too civilized to use force. I think we will fall, and then those among them who don’t perish will finally understand life without freedom is meaningless.

        The road to serfdom may well be a cycle that repeats itself endlessly.

        Well, I’m going to go see how the new Iranian revolution is doing. My thoughts are with those brave people craving their freedom and facing incredible risk to secure it.

        Sad about the Chinese and the Tiananmen Square massacre, they want the freedom they surrendered, they’re going to have to want it much more, the price of buying it back is steep. It won’t come any time soon for them.

    5. Corporations *can’t* speak.

      You’re right. They can’t.

      Only the individuals who make up their employees and independent contractors can.

      Any restriction on “corporate speech” is really a restriction on the speech of individuals because they happen to work for a corporation. All those press releases? Written by an actual person. All those ads? Scripted, voiced, acted, produced, etc. by actual people.

      Why should these actual people lose their rights because they are hired by a corporation?

      1. That’s just goofy. They can write checks for their own speech; we are talking about speech paid for from the corporate general treasury which is controlled by management which shareholders have attenuated control of because of the nature of the corporate form.

        1. Which should not be restricted from placing ads, i.e., speech.

          They are still restricted in contributing to campaigns.

          Yes, I know, see my post comment above.

        2. “we are talking about speech paid for from the corporate general treasury which is controlled by management which shareholders have attenuated control of because of the nature of the corporate form”

          If corporations “lobby” the representatives of the people into helping them make money at the expense of the people, it isn’t the corporation’s shareholders that have an agency problem. It’s disingenuous to argue that you’re trying to protect them, since they benefit if the corporation succeeds in rent-seeking.

          So long as the lobbying or political campaigning doesn’t undermine the corporation’s charter (that is, if they’re funding criticism of a hostile politician or trying to get in his good graces), there’s no reason to criticize the fact that it is funded from the general treasury. It’s a shame that bribing corrupt officials is a necessary part of being able to do business, but it’s a situation the U.S. shares with many developing or third world countries.

        3. Everyone in the corporation is there voluntarily. They agreed to everything that goes on with the treasury and such when they joined the corporation. If they don’t like it they can a) leave or b) try to change the rules. What problem is there with the corporate form if everything is voluntary?

      2. C’mon RC, you’re a lawyer right? A restriction on corporate speech is really a restriction on the speech of individuals because they happen to work for a corporation? Isn’t it more accurate to say a restriction on corporate speech — which I’ve argued and you’ve conceded cannot exist — restricts the speech of individuals who are speaking on behalf of the corporate entity? It doesn’t follow at all that it restricts their personal speech.

        I don’t see what’s so difficult to understand. The 1A, the 2A, and all the rest have no meaning as applied to unicorns, smurfs, or any other entity created out of thin air. Corporations are just like these things. Take your argument and substitute the word “unicorn” for “corporation.” It doesn’t make sense to speak that way.

        1. So the Reason Foundation has no right to publish a magazine or operate a political blog that provides you a forum to share your inane bloviations with the world?

          1. Back it up a little. It’s silly to say the Reason Foundation has any rights whatsoever. Individuals have rights. Smurfs, the good lord, and other imaginary or fictitious entities, like the Reason Foundation, do not.

            1. Exactly what I mean. You saying that the federal government has the authority to outlaw political blogs run by corporate entities generally or Reason Magazine specifically.

              You do not see aproblem for free political expression at all in that?

              1. No. And there’s nothing stopping these people from running blogs or calling themselves the Reason Foundation. They just don’t get limited liability, special tax treatment, etc.

        2. “Isn’t it more accurate to say a restriction on corporate speech — which I’ve argued and you’ve conceded cannot exist — restricts the speech of individuals who are speaking on behalf of the corporate entity?”

          “restricts the speech of individuals who are speaking on behalf of the corporate entity”

          restricts the speech of individuals

          Now that you’ve conceded that restricting “corporate speech” restricts the speech of individuals, you have to explain why you can restrict that speech just because the individual is speaking for some reason or another. It doesn’t matter why the person is saying whatever they are saying, it’s FREE speech.

        3. C’mon RC, you’re a lawyer right? A restriction on corporate speech is really a restriction on the speech of individuals because they happen to work for a corporation?

          I was mostly being facetious, but there is a nugget of truth in there:

          Should Congress be able to limit your speech because of who you work for?

          Should Congress be able to chill speech by saying its only allowed if no one is paid for it?

          Try to imagine a genuine limiting principle to the state powers you propose. Never forget:

          Me today, you tomorrow.

          1. You might have been facetious but reading the other comments and it looks like most folks here actually believe it. I’m afriad nuance doesn’t mean much any more.

    6. Re: The Sheep’s vote,

      What we’re against are entities created out of thin air that have rights.

      They are not created out of thin air, but by people that join and pool their resources. These organizations have the same rights as the people that create them. People do not forfeit their rights just because they create or join clubs, organizations and corporations.

      Corporations do not speak, the PEOPLE that conform them do. Again, people do not forfeit their right to speak just because they happen to be part of a corporation. If they want to speak collectively under the banner of their corporation, they can do so.

      1. “These organizations have the same rights as the people that create them.”

        Nonsense. They have some rights the people do not have (potential perpetual continuity, limited liability, etc) and some they do not (5th amendment right to be silent).

        “people do not forfeit their right to speak just because they happen to be part of a corporation”

        Indeed, and every individual member of a coporation can speak under laws like those recently struck down, only the corporation, which has a seperate legal existence, cannot.

        It’s also funny how OM demonstrates his ignorance of the corporate form of doing business. Speech directed by the corporation is not the speech of the shareholders but of its managements. A key feature of the corporate form is management is seperted from ownership

        1. Re: MNG,

          Nonsense. They have some rights the people do not have (potential perpetual continuity, limited liability, etc) and some they do not (5th amendment right to be silent).

          Rights do not emanate from the Constitution, MNG. The State does not grant rights. The fact that the State legislates some made-up rights for corporations does not invalidate the right of people to collectively express their opinion under a banner of a corporation.

          Indeed, and every individual member of a co[r]poration can speak under laws like those recently struck down

          Laws do not grant rights. Again, you’re equivocating.

          only the corporation, which has a sep[a]rate legal existence, cannot.

          You are conflating laws with rights, in an intellectually dishonest way. Just because States legislate laws that purport to “define” what a corporation is does not mean the corporation (the voluntary organization of people) only exists because the laws exist.

          It’s also funny how OM demonstrates his ignorance of the corporate form of doing business.

          Don’t equivocate, MNG. It is one thing to know about corporate law and another to talk about RIGHTS.

          Speech directed by the corporation is not the speech of the shareholders but of its managements.

          Irrelevant.

          A key feature of the corporate form is management is sep[a]rted from ownership.

          Irrelevant when it comes to speech.

        2. Those are powers, not rights. States grant power, only God grants rights.

      2. If corporations can speak, can they also vote? Simple question.

        1. It doesn’t matter. Congress shall make no law.

          1. Really hard to get that across to someone who claims to be rational.
            MNG argues that this person, that entity, whatever grouping isn’t ‘granted’ free speech, when none of that matters.
            There is nothing in the 1st that says anything about who gets to speak; it simply limits what congress can do.
            Poor MNG; that distinction is totally lost on him.

        2. You mean can the people in corporations vote? Why yes, they can.

        3. Since when is the freedom to speak predicated on the ability to vote?

          1. Oh yeah…felons definitely speak. So do resident aliens.

        4. Re: The sheep’s voice,

          If corporations can speak, can they also vote? Simple question.

          If all people involved in a corporation accept to have a single person cast a vote for them in the ballots, there is NOTHING to stop them from doing it. So YES, corporations CAN vote, by proxy.

        5. If corporations can’t speak, do they still have to pay taxes?

          If you limit the rights and freedoms, shouldn’t they also get to shed some of their responsibilities?

          1. I know you think you’ve hit me with an apparent contradiction, but I agree with you here. Because corporations are not people — because they are entities created out of thin air — taxes on the corporate level should be eliminated immediately. That’s where liberals are confused. They think corporations shouldn’t have rights or duties … except on April 15.

            1. Answer the question asked above? First response to you. Can corporations own property?

              Also, does “public use” (no matter how badly applied) apply to land owned by corporations, or can government take it without just compensation?

              I think the property gets to the issue…rights are associative. If the government seizes Exxon property, they are stealing a tiny, tiny bit from me. MY right to property protects Exxon thru my shareholdership.

              I see no reason speech, or press, should be any different. When Exxon “speaks” or publishes, they are speaking for me (a tiny bit, and for many, many more people).

        6. Voting isnt a right. It is a power.

          Next.

    7. But the point is that in this case, the law against “corporate speech” was applied against people organizing in a group.

      It just happened that this group of political activists decided to form a non-profit corporation to help finance their movie.

      That’s clearly *not* the kind of “corporate speech” you are against. Yet you fail to acknowledge that the law was essentially abused by the FEC to shut down opposition speech.

      IMO, what’s much scarier than corporations taking out political ads, is government officials telling political activists groups what they can and can’t say.

    8. We’re not for giving non-human entities rights, but McCain-Feingold restricted the rights of individuals.

    9. You don’t get it. Neither people nor corporations are given “free speech rights” in the Constitution. Instead, Congress is forbidden from passing any law abridging freedom of speech. They just don’t get to meddle with our marketplace of ideas. And when it turns out that a law they pass accidentally or intentionally succeeds in mucking with the idea-marketplace, that law MUST be struck down, according to the plain language of the Constitution. That’s a pretty simple thing to understand. Why does the left continue to beat the horse (surely dead by now) that following the clear law of the land is somehow “giving rights to corporations?” That whole topic is nothing more than a source of distraction and confusion.

  2. Topping his [Nader’s] wish list is a constitutional amendment excluding “all commercial corporations and other artificial commercial entities from participating in political activities.

    Another nebulous and completely unenforceable law?

    Yay!

  3. The only way to keep the rich and powerful from gaming the government to their advantage is to ensure the government has to advantage to give. Or as little as possible.

    This unfortunate fact is something that guys like Nader can’t accept.

  4. is Public Citizen going to STFU?

    1. Yeah, I thought this too? I doubt he’s “seriously ignorant” of how corporations work seeing as how he founded and headed a long-existing one…

      1. You notice Nader put in his amendment the qualifier “commercial” before “corporation”? It would seem Nader is suggesting silencing his corporate opponents while leaving his own non-commercial corporate entity free to speak. In his own special way, Nader is just another rent seeking bastard.

        1. Nice observation.

      2. This is also the guy who wrote that altruistic corporate executives and entrepreneurs would save the world…

        1. Sorry, WILL save the world…

  5. “Topping his wish list is a constitutional amendment excluding “all commercial corporations and other artificial commercial entities from participating in political activities.”

    Because luckily for Ralph, NO for-profit corporation would be smart enough to create a non-profit corporation through which to funnel it’s political speech.

    We’re saved!

    Thanks, Ralph!

  6. Corporations have often been denied rights granted to persons (i.e., the 5th amendment right to silence). I don’t think it’s that far off to think the right to free speech granted in the 1st is a right that can be held by persons, not corporations. Corporations are not persons, they are some kind of strange zombie-like things that are created by the State legislature, can live forever and have limited liability for their actions.

    1. “I don’t think it’s that far off to think the right to free speech granted in the 1st is a right that can be held by persons, not corporations.”

      The 1st Amendment doesn’t grant free speech, it prohibits Congress from passing any law abridging freedom of speech.

      “Congress shall make no law…”

      Tell me you’re intelligent enought to understand that.

      1. Yes, but noone is stupid enough to think that every law that might restrict speech is prohibited, are they? Defamation, perjury, time/place/manner restrictions, all restrict speech.

        1. Your “restricions” are all about stopping people from aggressing against the rights of others. Your rights end where they interfere with someone else’s rights. I can swing a baseball bat, but I can’t go around knocking people’s heads off.

        2. Defamation and libel laws don’t prohibit speech. They hold people accountable for the damages caused by their speech, just like any other action.

          As for perjury, it’s only a crime when someone has wilfully taken an oath or affirmation to testify truthfully, thereby agreeing to accept the penalty for false testimony.

        3. You are confusing speech with free speech. Free speech ends when others rights begin. Speech continues past that point. 1A only protects (not grants) free speech, not all speech.

          I think of rights as bubbles. They can grow as far as they can, but when they bump up against another bubble, their expansion must end.

      2. Congress shall make no law abridging freedom of speech. Check. Corporations cannot, by definition, speak; they are fictional characters. So if Congress passes a law abridging corporate speech it’s a huge waste of time but does not violate the 1A.

        1. OK. If corporations can’t, by definition, speak then what is the problem? All of the speech previously ascribed to corporations must therefore be speech of people. So it cannot be banned.

          1. The problem is people celebrating a decision where one of the fundamental premises — that corporation’s can speak — is preposterous on its face. If the people who created Hillary had forgone corporate organization and instead produced the movie as a group of individuals pooling their resources I would be right there with you.

            1. You are doing a lot of skipping around there, skippy.

              First you say corporations are fiction and cannot speak. Fine, if that is the case then there is no reason to restrict the speech that they cannot utter.

              People created Hillary but they formed a corporation. You just told us that the corporation cannot speak, then you tell is that was their ‘mistake,’ forming a corporation. Are we to believe, from your jabber, that if they had never formed a corporation then they would no longer be mute?

              Somehow their case ended up in the Supreme Court for speech no matter what fucktardian dictionary you might be using for that. The Supreme Court ruled that their speech could not be restricted in that manner. They are still people, their money is in a corporation.

              1. Stick to your faux anima persona
                JT, your ignorance of corporations is showing worse than your slip.

            2. Oh yea, fucktardian, a group of people pooling their resources IS a fucking CORPORATION.

              You people sometimes call them collectives.

            3. If the people who created Hillary had forgone corporate organization and instead produced the movie as a group of individuals pooling their resources I would be right there with you.

              Bullshit.

        2. Are you seriously arguing that Congress passing a law abridging speech doesn’t violate the Constitutional prohibition against Congress passing laws abridging speech?

          1. I’m saying it’s not speech because a corporation “said” it. Corporations cannot speak, only individuals can.

            1. So if the law targets a corporation, then it’s not ‘really’ a law, and should have no force or effect?

              1. I like that idea!

                So, if people running some company, let’s use a fictional name like Enron, decide to do a bunch of illegal shit it really doesn’t matter, nobody goes to jail and the firm doesn’t lose a nickle. Brilliant!

              2. Correct. But I’m in favor of liability for the individuals “behind” the corporate form, provided they have committed a legitimate crime or committed a legitimate civil violation.

                1. Interesting, so you think that the individuals in corporations are liable for their crimes, yet you don’t recognize them as the speakers of “corporate” speech. Hypocrisy is a harsh mistress.

            2. If a corporation cannot speak then obviously it can’t lie, right? The first is a precondition for the second (unless corporations can sign). So no more 10b-5 cases against corporations.

        3. That’s a fallacious argument on several fronts, but I’ll keep it simple.

          First, the most literal interpretation of the use of the word “speech” would not apply to corporations because there is no physical body, thus no organs with which to speak aloud. However, speech covers a far broader range of communicative expression than the spoken word. If it did not then any non-spoken form of speech could be abridged by law.

          Second, it would be a violation of equality under law if one group of people is denied rights which for another group is protected. If producing a political advertisement is speech for one group, then it is for all. Then again, if it’s not speech (as you might think based on a literal definition) then it is not protected from infringement. It can’t be had both ways.

          1. Would not ? because corporations are EVIL! Evil things can’t “speak”. Don’t you get it.

        4. Corporations are imaginary, and cannot speak, think, act, or affect reality in any way. Therefore, there’s no reason to worry about them or care what they’re allowed to do or not allowed to do. So why are you wasting your time?

          1. Better yet, banning corporate speech actually bans nothing in reality. Cool!

    2. Re: MNG,

      Corporations have often been denied rights granted to persons (i.e., the 5th amendment right to silence)

      That’s because corporations don’t testify – only individuals testify, and each individual can testify against other individuals. But they don’t have to.

      I don’t think it’s that far off to think the right to free speech granted in the 1st is a right that can be held by persons, not corporations.

      The right to freely speak is not granted by Congress or the Constitution. Your point is moot.

      Corporations are not persons

      Irrelevant. Corporations are conformed by people, and people ARE persons.

      they are some kind of strange zombie-like things that are created by the State legislature, can live forever and have limited liability for their actions.

      Irrelevant. The same can be said about any other sort of organization, including clubs, churches, non government organizations, non profit, etc. The fact that legislation has been passed to define these organizations does not mean that the rights the people have when joining or creating these organizations are suddenly forfeited.

      1. “That’s because corporations don’t testify – only individuals testify, and each individual can testify against other individuals. But they don’t have to.”

        Not true. See Subpoena.

        Testimony against others can be compelled. Self-incriminating testimony can not.

        That said, I agree with everything else you wrote.

        1. Re: RUss R,

          U R right.

        2. Do corporations testify? If officers, employees or shareholders of a corporation testify, they must be sworn as individuals.

          I think that corporations can also be compelled to furnish evidence, in the same sense that the government can search your home or business via properly executed warrant.

      2. “Corporations are conformed by people, and people ARE persons”

        And those persons do not have their individual speech restricted by laws like BRAC.

        “The same can be said about any other sort of organization, including clubs, churches, non government organizations, non profit”

        Er, all of those can be incorporated doofus, which should tell you that a corporate form is distinct from “a group of people hanging out.” It’s an entity of the State where the State grants certain benefits unheard of for individuals (perpetual legal continuity, limited liability) and mandates certain structures (management seperated from ownership), and certain duties.

        I find it interested that Free Market Mexican is so ignorant of corporate law and structure…

        1. Nice job avoiding the argument MNG. Explain to me how restricting “corporate” speech doesn’t restrict the free speech of certain individuals.

    3. MNG|2.11.10 @ 4:40PM|#
      “Corporations have often been denied rights granted to persons (i.e., the 5th amendment right to silence)….”
      There is a density here which is hard to comprehend. Well, maybe not…
      To repeat: The 1st says nothing about who can speak, regardless of your brain-dead arguments about this party or the other.
      It says, simply “Congress shall make no law…”
      It is a limitation on Congress and by extension the government. That’s all.

  7. the “sheeple” vote:

    Your ignorance of both the law and the Citizens United decision is a marvel to behold. Have you bothered reading the First Amendment?

    “University of Illinois law professor Larry E. Ribstein says Nader doesn’t know what he’s talking about[.]”

    Really? Say it isn’t so…

    1. The idea that a corporation can speak, or has free speech rights, is just as ridiculous as saying a unicorn or God can speak and has free speech rights. They are all entities created out of thin air, by human imagination. I fail to see how the 1st Amendment, regardless of what it says, applies to fictional characters and entities.

      1. “Congress shall make no law … abridging freedom of speech.”

        I don’t see corporation or “people” anywhere in there.

        Further, one doens’t even need to get into the “people” argument (Citizens United isn’t even entirely based on it).

        Make no law. You certainly can’t read that to allow restrictions on certain groups (but not others) giving money during certain times (but not others).

      2. The why do newspapers have rights?

        1. Then.

          1. Because the First Amendment applies to them, but not to people who form corporations corporations evil imperialist capitalist Nazis.

        2. Becuase most of them are in the liberal camp, Pro L.

          Just like overturning CU wouldn’t affect newspapers, R. Maddow, or M. Moore.

          Only the evil corporations.

        3. The press, the industry, is specifically granted those rights. If all corporations had those rights under the speech clause that would be redundant.

          1. Perfect. I love it! May I frame that?

          2. Why do movies about Hillary Clinton and political advertisements not count as part of “the press”? Corporations own newspapers, TV news, etc. How is funding a newspaper which publishes editorials any different from funding a political ad close to an election? How can there be a consistent standard which defines which media counts as the press and which does not?

            I know this is not the standard legal aproach, but when considering the 1st amendment, I like to think of speech as simply speech: people talking. The press I take to mean any communication through any other common medium of communication (since at the time the printing press was really the only such medium going). I cannot think of any other consistently applicable definition of “the press”.

            1. This is what I wondered. How is a 30 second documentary about a politician not PRESS?

          3. Define “the press.”

            1. It used to be someone with a printing press. Now it is anyone who agrees with Chavez.

            2. Liberals.

              1. Actually, scratch that. It’s obviously an abbreviation the framers were using for ProgRESSives.

          4. “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.”

            “The press, the industry, is specifically granted those rights.” – MNG

            Please see the above text: it does not begin “Congress” or “This Constitution grants the right”, it begins “Congress shall make no law ?” The Constitution does not grant a right to “speech” or even a right to free speech to the press. It only specifically bars Congress from “abridging” those assumed (we hold these truths to be self evident) and pre-existing rights.

            “If all corporations had those rights under the speech clause that would be redundant.” – MNG

            You are confusing freedom or speech and freedom of the press. The language of the Constitution assumes the right to free speech unconditionally (press or not); the addition of “or of the press” is a restriction on Congress abridging “freedom of the press”, which is a wider category than freedom of speech. It is not there to protect the freedom of speech of the press (which is protected for all, not just the press, in the phrase “”Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech”), it is there to protect the ability of the press to engage in many of the investigative activities, printing, etc that journalists do. This is why much case law involving the press does NOT hinge on the “freedom of speech” but rather on “freedom of the press”.

            Note, the text does not read “abridging the freedom of speech, or of the freedom of speech of the press”. No. The

            1. When I use the term “unconditionally” above, I am talking with respect to the identity of the speaker – not meant to imply that these rights may not under any circumstances be limited or regulated.

            2. “the addition of ‘or of the press’ is a restriction on Congress abridging ‘freedom of the press,’ which is a wider category than freedom of speech. It is not there to protect the freedom of speech of the press (which is protected for all, not just the press, in the phrase ‘Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech’), it is there to protect the ability of the press to engage in many of the investigative activities, printing, etc that journalists do. ”

              These days, journalists run radio and TV transmitters, or operate cable networks. So what business does the FCC have in deciding who can and who can’t have a transmitter? I think the FCC is mostly unconstitutional, especially in their role as “spectrum gatekeeper” when it comes to news and entertainment broadcasting.

          5. No, the “press” referred to in the 1st amendment is not the profession of journalism, it is the printing press machine itself. The 1st protects the right of using one’s voice and using recorded media to spread your ideas. It does not protect a priestly caste of reporters imbued with greater rights than the rest of the populace.

            1. If I implied that the freedom of the press was limited to the NYT and ilk, that wasn’t my intent. I agree that was is being protected against government “abridgment” is an ACTIVITY not a class of people (or group).

      3. The text reads as follows: “Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech” (in pertinent part). This first clause is a specific prohibition, nothing more. Of course, the second clause (as quoted) prescribes the subject matter. That said, this Amendment was written in “terms of speech, not speakers.” Yes, I stole that language from Scalia. Moreover, it is impracticable to distinguish between media (newspapers and such, owned by corporations I might add) and other corporations (say like those who actually turn a profit). Simply stated, I think you’re just confusing the simple concept of consitutional construction.

        1. *constitutional

          Grrr.

      4. What’s wrong with Unicorn speech?

        SPECIESIST!!

      5. Just going with your line of thinking… should any and all groups be disallowed from being able to use thier organization to promote, support/oppose, publish in any manner a political opinion?

        I mean, why limit it to ‘corporations’, why not exclude any non-person entity from expressing a position?

      6. The idea that a corporation can be taxed is just as ridiculous as saying a unicorn or God can be taxed. They are all entities created out of thin air, by human imagination. I fail to see how tax laws, regardless of what they say, apply to fictional characters and entities.

  8. Caption Contest!

    “Let me be clear: stay away from the Corvair. For a safe car look no further than Toyota.”

    1. Stick with the ones that require a HAZMAT team response in an accident. Start and stop with Prias.

  9. I’m curious, could we prohibit State and local governments from expenditures for electioneering speech? Prohibit the State of Texas from spending money to effect elections in Arkansas, say in a way favorable to Texas? If no, why not? States are “associations of persons” and their speech would be political speech too…

    1. Groups of state citizens (employed by the state) already can and do run ads arguing for specific national policy.

      Could they run an ad arguing for or against a candidate in a neighboring state? I’m not sure, but I’d need a pretty damn good argument to think they couldn’t.

      1. Ahh, but “big groups of state citizens” are not “the State.” I’m talking about the State spending taxpayer money just like the corporation spends shareholder money…Both are speech, both are associations of persons…

        1. Science, MNG, try to keep up. What is the material difference between a corporation and the government? The government has a gun pointed at your head. Corporations are something you don’t seem to get, consensual. The shareholder can sell when he chooses. Government is coercive. So the States are not “Free” speech.

        2. What do you think public awareness ads are?

          1. They are paid advertisements of the State. They are NOT similar to the actions of corporations in that they specifically coerce the funds to provide the propaganda ads.

            In case you hadn’t noticed, you can sell you shares in a corporation if you don’t like the way it is run. You can’t escape taxes so the comparison fails.

        3. What do you think the DEA presently does when it’s not gunning down innocent people, MNG? One of the Drug Czar’s Congressionally-mandated tasks is to lie campaign against state measures to repeal drug laws (including marijuana).

          Moot point.

    2. Yes, though I doubt the voters of Texas would appreciate it.

      1. By this I mean, yes, I think they could do that, not that yes you can prohibit it.

      2. My point.

        Not only would Texas citizens revolt, especially those who felt differently, but I’m sure Arkansas citizens would just willingly fall into line with the Texas advertisment. “Well shucks, if Texas wants X, X must be the way to go.”

        And yet that is what some want us to believe will happen after CU.

    3. “I’m curious, could we prohibit State and local governments from expenditures for electioneering speech?

      Would that be something like Congress making a law prohibiting speech?

      In which case, the 1st Amendment pretty clearly says “No”.

      See how easy that was!

    4. Re: MNG,

      I’m curious, could we prohibit State and local governments from expenditures for electioneering speech?

      What’s with this “we” business, Kimosabi? It is up to the people of each State to limit their government.

      1. Isn’t there a federal restriction on that too, that rules the states?

        Doesn’t matter. In the Constitution, the government is the one with the enumerated restrictions, not the people.

    5. Actually, despite the cutesy “I got you” wise ass aim of your question, that is a fairly interesting and complicated question because the Constitution does EXPRESSLY have several clauses governing the relationship among the several states (Full Faith and Credit clause, etc). There is a lot of jurisprudence out there, it would take a bit of studying to figure it out. However, I would say that (i) most State Constitutions would likely bar what you suggest and (ii) State Attorney Generals do sometimes offer Amicus curiae briefs in support or against a case being argued by another state if they feel that the outcome will be used as precedent in a way not favorable to them.

      1. Nice strawman, though

    6. Cool MNG, I’m glad all the taxpayers consensually agreed (read:forced) to buying a part of the government and then allowing it to do whatever they want with our money, just like corporations. kthxbye.

  10. Generally speaking and in theory only, government entities and officials are considered to have limited rights, in the strictest sense (for example, the right to own property). Officials have the rights that all persons have, of course, but in their official capacity, not so much.

    In practice, of course, our governmental bodies and officials do pretty much whatever they want. So they have superior “rights” to the rest of us.

    1. So what would restrict them as officials here? And this wouldn’t be an “abridgement of speech?”

      1. The state does not have the right to free speech or the right to anything else not specfically granted to it in the constitution.

        1. That’s actually a good answer. The Constitution is a document of limited, specifically enumerated powers. We do look outside of the Constitution to interpret certain things, but the actual powers (or “rights”, if we want to misuse that term in this context) have to be expressly granted.

          I can’t recall off the top of my head, but I believe there are some cases on the limits of government as a speaker.

          1. To extend this a bit, the question I put to those challenging a corporate right to freedom of speech (leaving aside the issue of whether they are groupings of people or evil incarnations of Satan) is where does the federal government derive the power to regulate corporate speech?

            In U.S. jurisprudence, that’s the starting place for all legal analyses involving government action. Not the Bill of Rights. To put it in First Amendment terms, the question of whether Congress is making a law abridging the freedom of speech isn’t the threshold question. The threshold question is whether Congress has the authority to make the law at all.

            Of course, the correct rebuttal to this is a three-word answer: The Commerce Clause! To which I throw up my hands and start shouting obscenities.

            1. Ironically, if one state was lobbying against commercial interests in another state with the specific aim of helping commercial interests in its own state, arguably, Congress barring that action might be one of the only Constitutional applications of the commerce clause in recent memory

            2. Article I, Section 4, also deals with this:

              The times, places and manner of holding elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each state by the legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by law make or alter such regulations, except as to the places of choosing Senators.

              You could argue it falls under “manner”, but I would think that would be more like regulations on voting devices or IRV v plurality v Single transferable v etc.

      2. A government official has exactly the same rights as everyone else. Just like us, a state official can say whatever he wants. Just like us, a state official can’t (or at least shouldn’t) use stolen money to buy commercials.

  11. I fail to see how the 1st Amendment, regardless of what it says, applies to fictional characters and entities.

    “Congress [an entity] shall make no law”

    Or did you mean, “I only want my preferred outcome, the laws be damned.”

    1. Furthermore, the damn amendment says “Congress shall make no law.”

      Who cares about ficitional characters and entities? “No law.” Pretty damn simple.

    2. I wasted all those electrons on this thread saying the same as you. Very well said.

  12. One way to deal with Nader’s problem is to reduce the awesome power of government.

    The only way that can happen is by splitting up the large states and increasing the number of representatives to about 4,000.

    Buying off a couple hundred reps is easy, buying off a couple thousand might be too unwieldy of a proposition.

    But of course, representatives LIKE selling themselves to the highest bidders. Ralph Nader may charge more than Barney Frank, but he’s still for sale.

    It’s merely a supply issue, the supply of representatives is far too low for the number of people (300 million) demanding representation.

    1. Buying off a couple hundred reps is easy, buying off a couple thousand might be too unwieldy of a proposition.

      Not for MEGA KORPORAZIONZ! Don’t forget about teh Jewz.

  13. Is that Brian Doherty on the Glen Beck show talking about Bill Clinton’s heart stints or just some guy who looks like him?

    1. Uh, yes. We had been led to believe this would air tomorrow. Not actually talking about Clinton, of course.

      1. Sorry, I was watching without sound while really watching Daytona stuff on another screen, so I was not really getting what the hell was going on with you guys.

  14. Wow, talking about serious political spin! LOL what a joke.

    Jess
    http://www.online-anonymity.cz.tc

    1. “www.online-anonymity.cz.tc”

      What is this junk, and why does it keeping showing up on certain people’s posts around here?

    2. Anon Bot – I love you

    3. Have your way with me anon bot.

  15. What’s the fuss? If large corporations run ads for candidate X, voters/potential customers will know they back candidate X. Does anyone think that large corporations want to be known as supporters of particular candidates? Have you ever heard of a large corporation endorsing a candidate? Alienating potential customers who don’t like your politics is just plain dumb.

    No, we’ll just end up with more of the same: corporations will play both sides and lobby for goodies no matter which of team blue or team red is in power. We’ll also get interest group ads closer to election days, but who cares?

    Seriously, if I’m wrong on this, please tell me.

    1. No, you’re right. And if a candidate is backed by a disfavored boogeyman, e.g. “Big Oil”, “Big Tobacco”, etc., the media will be on him like ugly on an ape.

      What makes me laugh is the way that those making the fuss like to insist that they are smart enough to understand the implications of a candidate being in the pocket of a corporate entity, but of course nobody else is smart enough, hence we need Big Government to protect them.

      1. like ugly on an ape

        Racist! Speesh Speic, Zpeac qwerty Asshole!

  16. Topping his wish list is a constitutional amendment excluding “all commercial corporations and other artificial commercial entities from participating in political activities.”

    Including political parties? Oh, come on. There’s nothing more artificial or commercial than a political party.

    1. Pam Anderson’s rack?

      1. Glenn Beck’s tears!

  17. I note for the record that the disclosure requirements of McCain-Feingold remain intact. So voters can see who is influenced by whom, in theory.

    Of course, influence peddling isn’t remotely a monopoly of “big business.” Virtually every organization that you can think of wields influence on government, as government continues to arrogate to itself more and more aspects of the economy and of life in general. So, naturally, everyone goes to government bodies, hat in hand.

    Not to mention, of course, the blindingly obvious fact that businesses are unified about very little, and even those with common causes are competitors in the marketplace–including the marketplace of government influence.

    Why isn’t it insanely obvious that it’s government, not our speech rights, that needs to be limited?

    1. If I were a religious person I would bestow blessings on you. Great point!

  18. “Of course, Nader is simply wrong about what the Supreme Court did”

    That’s really all that needs to be noted about 99% of what Nader says. If he told me there was snow on the ground in DC right now, I’d check with other sources before putting my snowboots on.

  19. i for one am excited about carving up the property of these fictitious characters called corporations. i mean if they are fake and can’t have rights, then certainly i should be able to take what is on their shelves.

  20. Nader apparently is as stupid as the POTUS. Was he born in Kenya too?

    1. He’s of Lebanese heritage!
      Might be a secret muslim
      He speaks Arab
      His family’s native language is Arabic,[3] and he has spoken it along with English since childhood.

  21. My ’65 Chevey Corvair Spyder freakin’ rocks.

  22. What bothers me is that the government has clearly committed far greater evils than any corporation in this country ever has. I’ll leave aside the historical extremes that governments have reached for the moment to note that even here, with a relatively benign government, there is no entity (or entities) with more power, more history of abuse, less accountability, and less trustworthiness than our government. It’s not even close.

    For leftists that are thinking they disagree with me, I remind you of how you felt under Bush. That’s the future you chart for us when you worry about the perils of the free market rather than the proven dangers of government run amok.

  23. MNG,

    Well, what about the fact that, in the case of interest, Citizens United was a non-profit corporation, formed by a bunch of political activists, for the pusposed of financicing political speech?

    Maybe that’s nto the kind of speech that you think needs banning, but the fact is that the FEC saw fit to impose the law against a bunch of politicial activists. Doesn’t this boldly illustrate how such laws restricting corporate speech will be abused to shut down legitimate political speech?

  24. I kind of like this proposal of making it illegal to receive any kind of bailout or subsidy if you’ve made political contributions.

    They’d probably rapidly find ways around it – lots of Iowa farmers get subsidies – maybe end up doing everything with tax deductions and credits. But it would be interesting to try – even as a rhetorical gimmick. You could challange your opponents to support this law banning subsidies for anyone that contributes, and they would look like total shite if they opposed it. Fits my idea of what a libertarian populism would look like.

  25. Look, guys, if it were up to me we’d scrap campaign finance laws. All of them. I’m just confused how self-professed libertarians can get behind the idea that a group of individuals — or even just one individual — can create a new entity with rights, and just by filing articles of incorporation and sending a $150 check the local secretary of state. Even minarchists think the state’s power should be substantially circumscribed. Roads, national defense, courts … check, check, check. Where does providing the framework for individuals to organize with limited liability — via a newly created entity with rights — fit? Serious question.

    1. Well, remember that limited liability is for passive investors and doesn’t protect those who actually control a corporation. That usually means management and the board, but shareholders have been found liable for civil and criminal penalties, too. And, of course, corporations can be found directly liable. That’s another benefit of the legal fiction that everyone is complaining about–corporations can be punished.

      There is room to reform the way corporations are treated in law, but the corporate form (and its LLC, LP, and other cousins) is a critical one to a healthy economy. It’s not the rights that we grant corporations–and those rights are most definitely recognized because corporations are an association of individuals–that create any problems, nor is it the principle of limited liability. Still, I think that shareholders should have more rights than they do to challenge poor management (without more liability), and I think management that acts criminally or with gross negligence should be held personally liable.

      1. Business judgment rule. It effectively grants limited liability to officers and directors. You’re right that the corporate form provides that for investors/shareholders. I still don’t see how an ideal libertarian society has room for these ideas.

      2. You’re making a utilitarian argument, by the way, i.e., that the corporate form is acceptable in libertarian society because it’s critical for a healthy economy. I consider that a second-order argument, and a persuasive one at that. But the first-order argument is that a government of limited powers should not be permitted to create the framework allowing for the corporate form.

    2. How does giving the federal government absolute authority over corporations fit in with minimizing the state’s power?

    3. Corporations don’t have actual rights; the people behind them do, however much you don’t like that.

    4. For the millionth time, this is not about about the rights of corporations. It is about the power of Congress to restrict political speech.

      “Congress shall make no law”

    5. Because libertarians believe in the right of free association, whether the group that people form to associate has a government stamp or not.

      Suppose you and misses Sheeple decide that you want to be active against a politician who supports subsidies for lamb chops in restaurants. So you form a group, pooling your, your wife and your brother Bob’s money. You now take out and add under the name the “Sheeple’s Fund”. That is no longer an individual endeavor, but the combined effort voicing the opinion of several individuals. Does the government now have some new grant of power to restrict your speech and block your add?

      1. “and add” –> “an ad”. Still haven’t had my coffee.

      2. No.

      3. I would add that the government stamp is the critical difference between me and Mrs. “Sheeple” forming our own organization. It’s the government stamp of approval that bothers me; that, and the idea that this newly created entity has rights.

  26. Ralph Nader has accomplished something really remarkable in his career–he has been wrong virtually 100% of the time. To put this in perspective, it takes the same degree of mastery of a material to make 0% on a multiple-choice test as to make 100%.

    1. If Ralph Nader took the SAT, he’d probably lose those 200 points for writing your name on the front correctly.

    2. Ralph Nader, dangerous at any age

  27. I’m just confused how self-professed libertarians can get behind the idea that a group of individuals — or even just one individual — can create a new entity with rights,

    Because its done voluntarily, we libertarians have no problem with it. See how that works?

    and just by filing articles of incorporation and sending a $150 check the local secretary of state.

    So-called free incorporation means that anyone who wants to can form a corporation without getting a special dispensation from government. Can you see how that is something that doesn’t bother libertarians?

    1. It’s not voluntary, RC, it’s done with a state-provided apparatus, which by definition is coercive. That’s why you file articles of incorporation with the secretary of state, not the local free market incorporation society.

      1. The people who get together to form the corporation do it voluntarily. No one is forced to do business with the corporation.

        Chartering a corporation is purely ministerial act by the state; the only coercion is that the state requires you to charter it if you want to use the corporate form.

        I honestly don’t understand your problem with all this, sheepy. The filing requirement just doesn’t break the plane, for me, as state coercion that is in principle unacceptable.

        1. I suppose we’re just going to draw the line in different places. You’re OK with coercion provided it’s ministerial, I am not. I’m not comfortable saying this type of coercion is OK, this other kind is OK, but these other kinds are not. Besides, even if I grant that initial ministerial coercion is copacetic it necessarily leads to further nonministerial coercion like the corporate income tax (yes, I understand you can organize as an S-corp or LLC or whatever, but there are limitations with those). I don’t see why the process shouldn’t be completely voluntary. You, me, and a few investors pool our resources, call ourselves Microsoft, run our business, ensure that customers are aware of and acknowledge that by purchasing our products they limit their ability to go after us personally, etc. No need for the state to be involved, not during incorporation, not with the BWC, not to pay corporate income taxes.

        2. You’re also forgetting that the business services division of the secretary of state is funded with tax dollars, again underscoring how when the state is involved transactions are never truly voluntary and, at least to this libertarian, unacceptable.

  28. Poor Ralph. He just gets more and more stupid as time goes on. He is good at getting Republicans elected though, and we should thank him for that. If it were not for him in 2000, we would have had that disaster Al Gore in the White House. Thanks, Ralph!

  29. Fuck you, Ralphie-Boy! Two of my friends died reading that swill you wrote!

  30. Just a question. If the corporation produces libelous speech, who goes to jail? I think it should be everyone employed by and all the shareholders of.

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