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I'll Believe Corporations Are People When...

[ Posted Tuesday, July 8th, 2014 – 16:54 PDT ]

Before I begin what is, in essence, a very short and very silly column, allow me to offer up some sort of explanation. When sitting down to write today, two subjects sprang to mind, but I then realized that with both of them I had previously written pretty much exactly what I intended to say. I considered just posting a "From The Archives" re-run column, but it's a lazy summer day so I decided instead to start by posting the two links to the previous columns, then just jot down some silly daydream, post it, and call it a day.

The two subjects on my mind were the border and immigration situation and the recent videos from Israel and California of excessive force. The border situation deserves further commentary in the days ahead, but today's news was the size of the extra money President Obama is going to ask for from Congress -- almost $4 billion.

I have long maintained that "securing the border" is indeed possible, but that Republicans would balk at the real price tag for doing so. Sure, we could flood the border with federal agents, but it would cost a lot of money to do so -- more money than the public is likely to approve of. I made this case in an earlier article I wrote on the situation in Arizona, which is still mostly valid (with a few updates, perhaps). It lays out the basic realities of the politics of immigration, so check it out for my basic take on things.

The second subject was the two videos from different lands. The first was taken on the side of a California freeway, and shows a cop repeatedly beating a woman in the head. The second was taken in Israel, and shows Israeli forces savagely beating and kicking a Palestinian young man. I have no direct comment on either of these, instead would have re-run my column "Big Brother v. Little Brother" which points out that while camera surveillance in public has (in some places) reached Orwellian levels; while The State spies on us, we are also now spying on The State. Millions of cell phones are in millions of pockets, and they are ready to record video of any police action these days, pretty much anywhere and anytime. As I pointed out, the knife now cuts both ways. The two recent videos are merely the freshest examples.

OK. Now that I've gotten the two links out of the way (which I encourage you to read if you're looking for something non-silly today), let's get on with the silliness, shall we?

What with the recent Supreme Court decisions on the subject of corporations, I was reminded of a bumpersticker which can be seen on the cars of many liberals (at least, where I live): "I'll believe corporations are people when Texas executes one."

Short, funny, and to the point. But what with all the religious overtones these days, I thought maybe we could come up with a better ending to that quip. Here are the ones my feverish brain came up with in a few moments' time. Please add any you come up with to the list, in the comments. A fun summer game for the whole family to play!

 

I'll believe corporations are people...

...when one is baptized.

...when one is called for jury service.

...when one is elected Pope. (or, to tone it down "...when one becomes a minister")

...when one is allowed to vote.

...when I see a banker go to jail. (somewhat tangential, but still...)

...when one takes a selfie.

...when one adopts a pet.

...when one serves in the military.

...when one gets married to a human being.

...when one actually pays some taxes.

...when one climbs Mt. McKinley.

...when one gets bitten by a shark.

...when someone shows me where in the Constitution corporate personhood is mentioned.

...when one becomes a saint.

 

OK, that's all I've got for now... but I invite all and sundry to join in the silliness today, on a lazy July afternoon. How would you end that bumpersticker? Do tell!

-- Chris Weigant

 

Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant

 

36 Comments on “I'll Believe Corporations Are People When...”

  1. [1] 
    Kevin wrote:

    ...writes this column.

  2. [2] 
    Kevin wrote:

    ...replaces Michale in the comments

  3. [3] 
    LewDan wrote:

    ...when one is added to the no fly list.

    Or, the obvious one from your two points,

    ...when one is beaten by police and arrested for assaulting a police officer.
    (I know, somewhat redundant.)

  4. [4] 
    Michale wrote:

    ...replaces Michale in the comments

    How do you know it hasn't happened?? :D

    Michale

  5. [5] 
    Michale wrote:

    Ya'all already support Corporations Are People...

    Every time you use a product from that came from a corporation, you are supporting that corporation's "person-hood"...

    Do what Liberals do best..

    Boycott EVERY corporation.. Let's see how long it lasts.. :D

    Michale

  6. [6] 
    Michale wrote:

    The second was taken in Israel, and shows Israeli forces savagely beating and kicking a Palestinian young man.

    We could also talk about what LED to that Palestinian "young man" being kicked and beaten...

    Two wrongs don't make a right, but one wrong far FAR FAR outweighs the other wrong...

    Context... It's all in the context...

    Michale

  7. [7] 
    Michale wrote:

    ...when someone shows me where in the Constitution corporate personhood is mentioned.

    Senate Majority Leader is not mentioned in the Constitution....

    Does that mean we can get rid of Harry Reid??

    PLEASE!!???? :D

    Michale

  8. [8] 
    Michale wrote:

    I'll believe corporations are people when....

    .... they can feed the starving masses...

    .... they can make everyone's life easier...

    .... they can put a man in orbit...

    .... they can create wondrous inventions...

    .... they look out for their own best interests...

    "Now, the decision you reach here today will determine how we will regard this... creation of our genius. It will reveal the kind of a people we are, what he is destined to be; it will reach far beyond this courtroom and this... one android. It could significantly redefine the boundaries of personal liberty and freedom - expanding them for some... savagely curtailing them for others. Are you prepared to condemn him and all who come after him, to servitude and slavery? Your Honor, Starfleet was founded to seek out new life; well, there it sits! - Waiting."
    -Captain Jean Luc Picard

    Think before you strike...
    -Smokey The Bear

    Michale

  9. [9] 
    Michale wrote:

    Three criteria for sentience..

    Intelligence

    Self-awareness

    Consciousness

    Just throwing those out there for discussion.. :D

    Michale

  10. [10] 
    Mopshell wrote:

    @ Chris

    Once again, I couldn't resist taking your idea to Daily Kos (crediting you with the original idea of course and including the link to this column). I came up with a few of mine own too:

    I'll believe corporations are people when...

    ...one demands maternity/paternity leave for itself after a merger.

    ...one calls in complaining of a sore throat because it wants to see the game live.

    ...one declares it will take early retirement at 55.

    ...one declares it believes in Santa and demands a merger with Toys R Us.

    ...one decides to take a year off and do a grand tour of Europe.

    ...one declares it is gay.

    ...one declares it has religious beliefs in conflict with its owners and/or shareholders.

    ...one sues its owners for breach of the Thirteenth Amendment.

  11. [11] 
    Mopshell wrote:

    These are some of the suggestions I'm getting over at Daily Kos:

    ...when a corporation is drafted for the military.
    (benamery21)

    I'll believe a corporation is a person when...
    ...one farts
    ...one sprains an ankle
    ...one gets a speeding ticket
    ...one swims a lap
    ...one blows out the candles on a birthday cake
    ...one gets up for the 2:00 feeding
    ...one changes a light bulb
    ...one smells a rose
    ...one attends a parent-teacher conference
    ...one hits a hole in one
    (techwriter)

    I'll believe a corporation is a person when... one dies. (CwV)

    "When One Gets Stretch Marks" --Randi Rhodes.

    ...when one gets circumcized..... (Floyd Blue)

    But these are my favorites:

    I'll believe
    when Baine Capital goes on trial for the murder of so many other "individuals" cut down because they were struggling and not fit to live

    when the Republicans nominate a corporation as their presidential candidate

    when anti abortion fanatics harass corporations for denying franchises killing a company before it is fully formed

    when two corporations are denied the right to merge because they are the same type of business
    (Ken H)

  12. [12] 
    Michale wrote:

    Whatever aliens are out there in the depths of space, they better hope that they have the same beliefs that Democrats have..

    Or else Democrats won't view them as "people"...

    I'm just sayin'.....

    Michale

  13. [13] 
    Michale wrote:

    All I am saying is that corporations CAN be a force for great good..

    OR they can be a force for great evil...

    JUST LIKE people....

    hmmmmmmmmmmmm

    Michale

  14. [14] 
    LewDan wrote:

    Michale,

    Germs can be "a force for good" or they can be a great evil.--Doesn't make them people.

    And aliens from outer space may be sentient, but that doesn't make them people.--Or citizens of the United States with constitutional rights.

    Groups of people are not "persons." Owning a corporation doesn't mean all individual civil rights of everyone in the corporation revert to you, or your control. Individual civil rights are the rights of individuals.--Although, the absurd lengths you wingers will go to in attempting to justify your irrational prejudices, and defend your inane lies, are fascinating.--Pathological, but fascinating.

  15. [15] 
    Michale wrote:

    Germs can be "a force for good" or they can be a great evil.--Doesn't make them people.

    Germs can't make a conscious decision to be for good or for evil..

    Corporations can.. People can..

    Your example is non sequitor...

    And aliens from outer space may be sentient, but that doesn't make them people.--Or citizens of the United States with constitutional rights.

    WOW... I am honestly surprised to here you say that..

    Pleased.. But surprised..

    I disagree on one point.. Sentient = "people"....

    Perhaps not as narrowly defined as we humans would define "people"...

    But anything sentient IS a "person"...

    Although, the absurd lengths you wingers will go to in attempting to justify your irrational prejudices, and defend your inane lies, are fascinating.--Pathological, but fascinating.

    Yer a winger, son... A Left Winger...

    Keep that in mind when when you try to paint the entirety of a... oh I dunno.. a "race" with the brush of a few bad actors...

    Michale

  16. [16] 
    Michale wrote:

    Data wasn't a "person" as it is defined.

    But he is still a sentient entity with all the rights and responsibilities of any flesh and blood "person"...

    "A difference that makes no difference IS no difference."
    -Commander Spock

    Michale

  17. [17] 
    LewDan wrote:

    Michale,

    Oh, now there are qualifications to being a person beyond "good" or "evil?"--Like possessing a human body and mind? With "a" denoting the singular. One might mind. One individual's inalienable rights. Because "rights" are not collective. And neither is a person. We are not Borg.

    There's a reason "sentient" means "sentient" and not people. Extraterrestrial life may be both sentient and nothing like our own. Sentient plants or insectoids with hive minds may have no need of, or capability for, the kind if individual rights that are important to us. There may even be sentient life right here on Earth with us. But "people" refers to intelligent human life as we know it. That may change one day, but it hasn't yet.--For the zillionth time, Michale, I'll remind you that your fantasies are not reality.

    You and SCOTUS do not get to make corporations persons with constitutional rights by redefining what "people" and "person" means.

  18. [18] 
    Michale wrote:

    You and SCOTUS do not get to make corporations persons with constitutional rights by redefining what "people" and "person" means.

    And yet...

    It's the law of the land...

    So, I guess that reality, once again, has proved you wrong.. :D

    There's a reason "sentient" means "sentient" and not people. Extraterrestrial life may be both sentient and nothing like our own.

    So???

    I equate "person" with sentience...

    That means that, to me, a being doesn't have to have two arms, two legs, 10 fingers, 10 toes for me to believe that they are a person..

    I am reminded of an incident where it was discussed how to treat possible extra-terrestrials that landed in our midst..

    The government official was quoted as saying, "If an American were to kill an extra-terrestrial, it might not rise to the level of 'murder' but it may likely come under the heading of 'cruelty to animals'.."

    That seems to be the EXACT same thing that you are saying...

    Forgive me if I find that obtuse and arrogant... :D

    For the zillionth time, Michale, I'll remind you that your fantasies are not reality.

    And allow me to remind you that "fantasies" such as the existence of god, is what this entire country was (and is) based on....

    Funny how that is, iddn't it.. :D

    Michale

  19. [19] 
    Michale wrote:

    And allow me to remind you that "fantasies" such as the existence of god, is what this entire country was (and is) based on....

    Funny how that is, iddn't it.. :D

    In other words, don't dismiss the existence and ramifications of fictional characters, such as Commander Data or God, on our society...

    To do so would be to ignore the reality of the here and now...

    Michale

  20. [20] 
    Michale wrote:

    --Or citizens of the United States with constitutional rights.

    So, basically what you are saying here is that ONLY citizens of the United States are covered by the United States Constitution...

    Like I said.. I am pleased to hear you concede that... :D

    Michale

  21. [21] 
    LewDan wrote:

    No, Michale,

    The constitution is "the law of the land." We're talking about SCOTUS decisions. There have been plenty of SCOTUS decisions that were wrong.--And unconstitutional. That's why the lsw provides corrective measures. Because SCOTUS, is neither omnipotent, infallible, incorruptible, or the supreme law of the land.

    And, personally, who care what you equate sentience to? I know you think reality is whatever you choose it to be, but its not.--Your imaginary people aren't persons either.--Whatever the voices in your head may tell you.--And Data is imaginary. Though even your imaginary person had to go through imaginary legal procedures a few thousand imaginary years from now to be recognized as an imaginary "person."

    If a cockroach hitches a ride on one of our spacecraft and an extraterrestrial kills it they're guilty of murder because simply being extraterrestrial makes that cockroach a person?--Forgive me if I find that illogical and stupid.

    And allow me to remind you that you don't know didly about history. This nation was not founded on fantasies, such as belief in god. It was founded on the realities of self defense and self-determination, with the recognition that many believe in all sorts of fantasies, especially about God.--And that people have every right to do so, as long as they don't harm anyone else.

  22. [22] 
    LewDan wrote:

    No, Michale,

    The Constitution provides individual rights to American citizens and foreign citizens currently under the jurisdiction of the federal government.--You see, one of the things that defines "people" is they are, or were, recognized citizens of some jurisdiction or other.--Unlike corporations.--And citizenship confers certain individual rights.

  23. [23] 
    Michale wrote:

    The constitution is "the law of the land."

    And the SCOTUS is the final arbiter of what the Constitution means..

    This is reality whether you agree with it or not...

    <I-And Data is imaginary.

    So is God..

    But this country was founded on the principles laid forth by this, or any other, imaginary God..

    This is reality...

    You can refuse to accept it..

    But it is the reality nonetheless...

    Michale

  24. [24] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    OK, just my first impression --

    Kevin [1,2], LewDan [3], Mopshell [10,11]...

    BWAH hah hah! Many of those got a BIG laugh out of me... especially "when one farts"...

    I'll have more to say later, but just wanted to say thanks for posting all these (and the ones from DK). They made my day!

    :-)

    -CW

  25. [25] 
    Michale wrote:

    If a cockroach hitches a ride on one of our spacecraft and an extraterrestrial kills it they're guilty of murder because simply being extraterrestrial makes that cockroach a person?--Forgive me if I find that illogical and stupid.

    "Yer having a close encounter!!?? Awesome!! What kind!?? First?? Second??"

    "IT'S CHASING ME!!! IT'S CHASING ME!!!"

    "Whoaa.. 3rd kind already!! You better run, dood. I think the 4th kind is a butt thing."
    -SUPERNATURAL

    :D

    Michale

  26. [26] 
    Michale wrote:

    But "people" refers to intelligent human life as we know it.

    "We all agree that every culture is entitled to inalienable human rights..."

    " 'In-alien.' If you could only hear yourselves... 'human' rights. The very name is racist. The Federation is nothing more than a 'Homo sapiens only' club."
    -STAR TREK VI, The Undiscovered Country

    I am actually surprised to hear such an un-enlightened and narrow-minded viewpoint from a Weigantian...

    I am guessing we can chalk it up to simply saying the opposite of what Michale says.. :D

    Michale

  27. [27] 
    LewDan wrote:

    Michale,

    There's nothing "unenlightened" about facing reality. The only people we currently know about are human beings. Confusing fantasy with reality is a conservative trait, not uncommon among fringe groups. When we encounter another sentient race we'll make the necessary adjustments to our terminology and policies; most likely after first engaging in wars, prejudice, xenophobia, and Olympic-caliber denial.

    Trying to adjust to the unknown based on speculation is irrational, not enlightened. You, and your conservative fellow-travelers simply refuse to recognize that reality isn't dependent upon either your imaginary scenarios or your ideological preferences.

    That's why the scientific method is about adjusting your preconceptions objectively based on observable phenomena, not hypothetical fantasies. Which is why I embrace science and you embrace conspiracy theories. Why I consider scientific evidence "enlightened." And you consider wishful-thinking and paranoid delusions "enlightened."

    I prefer to keep and open mind and adjust my opinions as facts become known to me, but to deal with reality, as it exists. You prefer to determine your opinion based on speculation and ideology, and refuse to accept any facts that contradict your prejudgments. Its your prejudices that are what's known as "unenlightened."

  28. [28] 
    Michale wrote:

    Confusing fantasy with reality is a conservative trait, not uncommon among fringe groups.

    Yea...

    Cuz Unicorns and Rainbows are definitely "conservative" sigils.. :D

    You funny... :D

    Michale

  29. [29] 
    Michale wrote:

    What it all boils down to is I am the wide-eyed dreamer who respects ALL forms of sentient life, human or otherwise as "people"...

    You are the government bureaucrat who says that killing an intelligent extra-terrestial lifeform would not be murder, but could likely fall under the legal headings of 'cruelty to animals'...

    Just so we're clear on our respective roles in this little narrative.. :D

    Michale

  30. [30] 
    Michale wrote:

    Which isn't to say that I am making the case that a corporation is a person..

    I am simply acknowledging that, as humans make their way out into the galaxy, they are going to have to overcome their prejudices and contemplate the idea that there are MANY sentient life forms out there and that humans ideas as to what constitutes a "person" will have to change...

    So, maybe humans can get a head start on such contemplations right here at home..

    Let's face the facts..

    If corporate person-hood would help the Democratic Party, ya'all would be ALL FOR corporate "person-hood"..

    Just like ya'all were against the Citizens United ruling. Until it started helping Democrats. Then ya'all were amazingly (and telling-ly) quiet about it...

    Thereby proving, once again, that it is Party Ideology that directs and dictates ya'alls actions...

    Michale

  31. [31] 
    Michale wrote:

    I am actually surprised to hear such an un-enlightened and narrow-minded viewpoint from a Weigantian...

    "Foul mouthed?? F*ck you."
    -Eddie Murphy, BEVERLY HILLS COP

    :D

    Michale

  32. [32] 
    LewDan wrote:

    What other sentient life forms, Michale?

  33. [33] 
    LewDan wrote:

    Corporation are businesses chartered by the State to receive special protection and benefits no available to other businesses, contingent upon the corporation meeting the States requirements for qualifying.

    Corporations are created by the State for meeting the State's requirements. They cannot have individual constitutional rights.

    Individual rights do not supersede contractual obligations. You don't get to sign a contract with a nondisclosure clause and then claim you've a first amendment right to speak. Incorporation requires entering into a contract with the State to abide by government requirements in order to retain the privilege of incorporation.

    Corporations are legal fictions, not people. Incorporation merely designates a company's legal status.

    You, and SCOTUS, claim corporations are people. The fact is that they are not. Your claims are based on nothing but a desire to rationalize your prejudices in the absence of any actual rational justification.

  34. [34] 
    Michale wrote:

    What other sentient life forms, Michale?

    "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy."
    -Hamlet (1.5.167-8)

    You, and SCOTUS, claim corporations are people. The fact is that they are not. Your claims are based on nothing but a desire to rationalize your prejudices in the absence of any actual rational justification.

    *I* have made no such claim...

    I merely state that corporations do have some of the same aspects and the same characteristics as people...

    And I also state, without refutation, that if corporate person-hood would serve the Democratic Party agenda, ya'all would be ALL FOR corporate person-hood..

    Michale

  35. [35] 
    Michale wrote:

    What other sentient life forms, Michale?

    I was reading on some candy that I bought, that it said 'Made with natural and artificial flavors'. At that point, you could just say 'made with flavors'. I mean, you've kind of covered them all. Unless there's some other type of flavoring out there, I don't know, like supernatural flavors??

    :D

    Michale

  36. [36] 
    Michale wrote:

    Incorporation requires entering into a contract with the State to abide by government requirements in order to retain the privilege of incorporation.

    Incorporation requires entering into a contract with the State to abide by STATE government requirements in order to retain the privilege of incorporation.

    The STATE government is not requiring Business Owners to violate religious beliefs...

    You lost... TrainWreckCare lost...

    It's decided...

    Get over it already....

    You are worse than whiney Republicans STILL whining over Roe V Wade.... Jeeesh...

    Michale

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