Corporations are People, too!

Mitt Romney spilled the beans yesterday, giving away the top GOP secret. As hecklers shouted that corporations should pay higher taxes, Romney said, “Corporations are people, my friend.”

The jeannie is uncorked. The most-sacred Republican secret slipped out and it was caught on camera. The jig is up!

The question that remains to be answered, however, is whether the American voter finally understands that there is a very clear difference between the missions of the two major political parties. If they, for some unknown reason, had not yet figured out the difference before Thursday, then surely it has become obvious to them thanks to Romney’s blunder.

Yet, with the yet-to-be spent hundreds of millions of dollars of corporate advertising, who can predict if the truth will prevail?  After all, the American electorate lately has been thoroughly duped into believing lots of idiotic stuff and the Tea Party folks seem to be the most gullible of all. Like the premise of the book, What’s the Matter with Kansas, Tea Party dimwits cheer and hoot as corporations rob and loot their bank accounts and 401K’s. Sadly, “we’re not only in Kansas any more.”

Yes, corporations are people, Mitt, and like real people, they can be arrested, tried and sent to prison for a really long time.  Or will the SCOTUS give them a ‘get out of jail free’ card?



24 thoughts on “Corporations are People, too!

  1. A few years ago I would have disagreed with you. But right now the tax structure is slanted to favor the extremely wealthy individual, not totally the large corporation, but that has been changing for decades (well, actually it started to change in the 80’s). Good ole George wasn’t the first; Ronnie changed a lot of tax laws and ethics at the expense of the what we used to call the “ordinary citizen”. I guess I’m slow on the uptake, but it took me a while to realize just how much control large (not medium or small) corporations have over our politicians. My question is, how do we change any of this when they have part of the electorate convinced uneven taxation is a good thing? The goofiest thing I’ve heard lately are the baggers hollering for a flat tax rate. How in the hell do you explain to them that the lower tax brackets would have a tax rate increase while the higher tax brackets would get a lower tax rate with a flat tax?

  2. One meme I’ve heard over and over again is how Ron Paul is the voice of sanity from the conservative/libertarian wing…how many of the positions that progressive believe in are somehow echoed in his ideology….
    But Ron Paul is a firm advocate of the Citizens United Ruling…
    And of course, in reality, if corporations are people, then they are bigger and more important and more powerful than any little individual could ever aspire to be.
    The Citizens United Supreme Court Ruling is perhaps the gravest blow to the idea of Democracy. This is one of the most important issues facing the concept of the United States as a Popular Representative Democracy, simply, if it stands then it sure ain’t!

  3. Jeff asks, How in the hell do you explain to them [teabaggers]…

    No one can. They don’t want to know anything; they’d just rather holler and bitch, mindlessly led by the professional propagandists of AM radio.

    What do we do with a malignancy?

    Surgeons routinely cut them out, but this isn’t medicine. What, UptheFlag, have societies historically done when they have finally realized that the upper crust of society have grown way-too wealthy and powerful. Let’s look to history for our ‘solution’ to this ‘malignancy.’

    1. I think that we know what they did. Let’s see: Was the War of Roses that put Henry Tudor on the English throne bloodless? Has the Irish situation been bloodless? Was the removal of King Charles I of England and the period after, bloodless? The American Revolution? The French Revolution?
      The Revolutions of 1848? The U.S. Civil War? The Russian Revolution of
      1917? The U.S. riots in 1968? The Arab Spring, especially Syria? The
      present unrest and death in London?

      What was it that Jefferson said about nourishing the tree of liberty?

  4. And the Koch Brothers are working through the Cato Institute to make sure the American people are well armed.

    But what if the armed forces that the people find themselves fighting are the mercenaries of a company such as Xe/Blackwater rather than the US military?

  5. Hello Laci,
    You bring up a very good example with Blackwater.

    I want to give you the example of the Coal Mine Operators at the turn of the century. Just as the Coal Companies brought in their own private armed guards such as the Pinkerton Guards and Baldwin Felts. Problem was those guards were nothing more than murders and thugs dumped out of the prisons and took jobs as the strong arm tactics of the Coal Companies to keep workers economically enslaved.

    In response to poor conditions and low wages in the late 1800s, workers in most industries developed unions. Strikes generally focused on a specific problem, lasted short periods of time, and were confined to small areas. During the 1870s and 1880s, there were several attempts to combine local coal mining unions into a national organization. After several unsuccessful efforts, the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) was formed in Columbus, Ohio, in 1890. In its first ten years, the UMWA successfully organized miners in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. Attempts to organize West Virginia failed in 1892, 1894, 1895, and 1897.

    In 1902, the UMWA finally achieved some recognition in the Kanawha-New River Coalfield, its first success in West Virginia. Following the union successes, coal operators had formed the Kanawha County Coal Operators Association in 1903, the first such organization in the state. It hired private detectives from the Baldwin-Felts Detective Agency in Bluefield as mine guards to harass union organizers. Due to these threats, the UMWA discouraged organizers from working in southern West Virginia.

    By 1912, the union had lost control of much of the Kanawha- New River Coalfield. That year, UMWA miners on Paint Creek in Kanawha County demanded wages equal to those of other area mines. The operators rejected the wage increase and miners walked off the job on April 18, beginning one of the most violent strikes in the nation’s history. Miners along nearby Cabin Creek, having previously lost their union, joined the Paint Creek strikers and demanded:

    1. The right to organize
    2. Recognition of their constitutional rights to free speech and assembly
    3. An end to blacklisting union organizers
    4. Alternatives to company stores
    5. An end to the practice of using mine guards
    6. Prohibition of cribbing
    7. Installation of scales at all mines for accurately weighing coal
    8. Unions be allowed to hire their own checkweighmen to make sure the companies’ checkweighmen were not cheating the miners.

    When the strike began, operators brought in mine guards from the Baldwin-Felts Detective Agency to evict miners and their families from company houses. The evicted miners set up tent colonies and lived in other makeshift housing. The mine guards’ primary responsibility was to break the strike by making the lives of the miners as uncomfortable as possible.

    As the intimidation by mine guards increased, national labor leaders, including Mary Harris “Mother” Jones, began arriving on the scene. Jones, a native of Ireland, was already a major force in the American labor movement before first coming to West Virginia during the 1897 strikes. Although she reported the year of her birth as 1830, recent research indicates she was probably born in 1845. As a leader of the UMWA’s efforts to organize the state, Jones became known for her fiery (and often obscene) verbal attacks on coal operators and politicians.

    One particular even called “The Bull Moose Special” was an armored train deployed by the coal operators during the Paint Creek and Cabin Creek Strike of 1912–14. The train’s name derived from the fact that the men who commissioned it were tied to the Progressive Party of West Virginia, nicknamed the Bull Moose Party after the national party’s presidential candidate, Theodore Roosevelt. Outfitted at the C&O Railroad shops in Huntington, the train originally consisted of a locomotive, a passenger car, and an iron-plated baggage car equipped with two 50 caliber tripod machine guns. The Special operated during the fall and winter of 1912, escorting other trains hauling nonunion workers into the strike district. Its most notorious trip came in February 1913, when the train was used to attack a tent colony of strikers at the Paint Creek community of Holly Grove.

    Early one morning in February the darkened train approached Holly Grove, two blasts from the engine’s whistle apparently signaled the beginning of machine gun and rifle fire from the Bull Moose Special into the TENTS OF SLEEPING MINERS AND THEIR FAMILIES. Several people were wounded, but only one striker, Cesco Estep, was killed. Estep was trying to get his son and pregnant wife to safety.

    I will now give you an educated prediction. One day and maybe in the near future, we will be hearing of the Blackwater troops firing and killing American civilians trying to voice their unfair treatment by PRIVATE CITIZEN CORPORATIONS!!!

    1. Good historical comment, EOK. Reminds me of the Post that M_R made a
      few months ago on the 1930s Electric Auto-Lite Strike in Toledo, and the
      violence associated with that strike. I used to teach a course, “Big Business
      and Reform, which covered the period roughly 1870 to 1917. It was a period known in the beginning as the Age of the Robber Barons and culminating in the Progressive Movement of the early twentieth century.

      As a graduate student I did numerous papers on this period of our history like the Granger Movement like, the continued exploitation of the Native American
      to take their lands for white corporate use, the Populist Movement and the
      free coinage of silver, the Hay Market Square Massacre in Chicago,
      the reform of the Democratic Party under the influence of William Jennings
      Bryan, Samuel Gompers and Eugene V. Debbs, and finally on the
      Muckracking Movement, that gives its name to this blog.

      Finally EOK, to this day, and knowing the history of the mine unionization
      effort, every time I see a Pinkerton detective guarding a building I think
      of this period and wonder how many people today know what that
      company stood for.
      , As to your prediction

      1. Sorry for the cut off, lol…(As an aside, I fail to see why M_R stays with
        wordpress with all the problems in replying and posting?)

        But, I digress, so back to your prediction of a group like Blackwater firing
        on demonstrators. We know after the United case and what Romney said
        the other day that “corporations are people”. It seems to me this could
        lead to the scenario that you predict. As a person then, a corporation
        has the right of self defense. And, as you show above and what our history
        demonstrates is a general acceptance of firing on the masses. Look at
        what happened in Detroit, LosAngeles, and New Jersey in 1968. Think of
        the term used to describe it, the RIOTS of 1968. Rioters can be shot!
        Fast forward to London of this week. In news today, the English support
        the measured response of the police, rather than PM Cameron’s more
        forceful response. Why are the people supporting the police? Look at Israel the last couple of weeks. Israel has low unemployment and a good
        exporting economy. Why are the people “rioting”? How has Israel handled
        the massive demonstration? The question here in the States is what will
        our new professional military do when each soldier’s “salary” is based on
        obedience to her/his military commander, and ultimately the President.

      2. I see us heading that way also and I don’t like it. I’m from a very Republican background and I watched as the party fell into the hands of wingnuts while people who could have done something just stood by. I never thought of myself as an activist (because I thought you had to be a Democrat to be an activist), but looking back on my life I guess I was. Now I’m just trying to ride out the rest of my life in peace but two things bother me if I don’t do anything.

        1. The Country could go to hell in a handbasket way before I’m dead. It’d suck to be old and unable to take care of myself because I let the U.S. political system run amuck. Here’s a wrinkle for you: Lately I’ve noticed first hand people turning against the religious right and the teabaggers. It warms the cockles of my heart to realize that many Americans aren’t as stupid as they vote sometimes.

        2. I really do give a damn about the generations that follow me. i.e.: All this crap about “Global Warming” being an unproven science just pisses me off big time. And if certain people are such history experts (think Common Sense), how come they never mention that one of the main reason FDR implemented Social Security is because private savings for retirements was not even close to working. And as we all know, the United States Social Security system has worked wonderfully so far (I know, lately the financing regulations for both payers and payees need some minor readjustments).

  6. Engineer and UptheFlag- thank you for your most excellent grasp of U.S. history, especially in the genre of Big-business Fascism, if there is such a phrase. Yes, UptheFLag, the Autolite union-busting goons of Big Business got the police and National Guard to declare the union organizers and union-sympathizers as ‘rioters’ and they became fair-game for the thugs of Big Business. Your other examples show a pattern, like the one in Toledo, of Big Business declaring ‘war’ on unions and union organizing.

    Today the Tea Party mindlessly [I hope] cheers for Big Business at the expense of the working stiff. As Jesus said, ‘They know not what they do.’ At least I hope that they don’t; I hope that they are victims of professional, paid AM propagandists who have hypnotized them into ‘believing’ that unions and the working class are the ‘enemy.’

    I harken back to the book, What’s the Matter with Kansas? It is a classic in this discussion. Each time one of those Tea Party kooks holds up a sign dismissing government as useless, Big Business wins and the common worker, the backbone of this nation, loses.

    Thomas Frank, author of What’s the Matter with Kansas? How Conservatives Won the Heart of America, describes the people of Kansas willfully voting against their own economic interests because they have been brainwashed into ‘believing’ that the GOP stood for a particular moral value, while it pick-pocked every last dime that they had. And those voters did it election after election until they voted away their total economic future.

    This is why I continually ask on this blog, when will the people finally wake up to what ‘they’ are voting for or against? Do they really know what their vote actually will mean for them, personally? Or has the brain-washing become so thorough that they will mark the ‘X’ robotically, like a zombie, election after election?

    It is obvious to me that the strong Tea Party adherents are no longer in control of their free will. They have been so thoroughly propagandized that, as Jesus said, ‘They know not what they do.’

  7. Hello Uptheflag,
    May I complement you on your very good comments and historical accounts. I too remember well the 1968 riots. I posted a long time ago the riots in Cambridge, Maryland when I was a teenager here on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. H. Rap Brown ended up on the FBI’s most wanted list for that…..and this is where Spiro T. Agnew gain national recognition as Governor of Maryland. Well we all know where this went to and as one can say, “The rest is history.”

    Hello Jeff,
    You stated, “I’m from a very Republican background and I watched as the party fell into the hands of wing nuts while people who could have done something just stood by.” Sounds like we have a lot in common. I have been speaking out for years of the inaccuracies from the likes of Rush Limbaugh or any of his clones to Republican members….but they choose to ignore facts simply because they want life to be that way. Like the saying, “If you repeat a lie often enough it will be viewed as truth.”

    I am hoping that we are seeing the crest, the zenith of the arc, of the Tea Party ultra conservative movement’s popularity.

  8. Although there are many of us who do not like it, the facts are that Corporations are People.

    Just look at W. Spann LLC which gave a million dollars to the Romney campaign … and that’s all they did … no product manufactured or sold … no service provided … just a “straw corporation” to pass monies to Mr. Romney.
    Or, Eli Publishing … who also gave $1 million … Eli Publishing was founded by Steve Lund who said he made it through a corporation he created to publish a book years ago because donating through a corporation has accounting advantages.
    Yep, Corporations are people ….

    BTW, Romney made a number of other statements during his Iowa SoapBox event … complaining that 50% of people do not pay income tax … yet failed to mention the GAO study that 57% of corporations failed to pay income tax … plus the 19,000 Corporations that are headquarter overseas for tax reasons … In 2007, Citigroup had 427 subsidiaries in foreign tax havens, Morgan Stanley had 273, New Corps had 152, Bank of America had 115, and Procter & Gamble 83 … watch out for Congress enacting legislation that will allow Corporations to bring home their profits at less than 10% instead of 35% … read this Boston Globe article about Romney’s plan … it did not produce jobs before, but did produce profits for companies … Pfizer was a big winner last time and still laid off thousands.

    If anyone is interested, I have offered a couple of commentaries on Romney’s SoapBox claims

  9. oops sorry, paul now claims that we are all corporations….so the constitution needs to be reworded…we, the people should be changed to We, The Corporations….simple terminology error.

  10. Hi everyone- this comment is for Jeff

    By no means do I claim to be a Tea Party supporter. In fact I beleive the whole movement is moronic. But I do support a flat tax. I wrote my opinions on some of the coservative blogs most of you follow. They are as follows.

    10% flat on any one person or family making under $300,000. 20% on any one person or family making over $300,000. That would include corporations of course

    All exemptions and loopholes are gone.

    It’s time for EVERYONE to realize that we are all responsible for fixing this problem. No matter what your political affiliation is.

  11. JOB- do you have a bottom limit for your 10% or does a single mother of 4 making $15K pay 10% too? I’m not at all sold on a flat tax. It seems to ‘cost’ the low wage earner much more than those at the top.

  12. Yes– The single mother of four who makes 15k pays 10%. However, I am open to discussion on this topic. What does this Single Mother do for a living, and what happened to the childrens’ Father?

  13. J.O.B.,
    Flat Tax versus FAIR Tax … if you wish to provide some assurance that more people do not find themselves falling deeper into poverty, then the prebate check and FAIR Tax is the proposal to consider. I believe that Herman Cain got many of his Iowa Straw Poll votes from his endorsement of the FAIR Tax. This link gives an overview of prebate monthly payment which is designed to provide enough monies to pay the imposed tax on basic essentials (the prebate check would be provided to everyone … Paris Hilton as well as the guy begging outside the Hilton Hotel).

    Interesting that you suggest two tax rates … does that mean that you support some “progressive” nature of taxes ? Why $300,000 … and not $250,000 or $500,000 … isn’t that the rub … finding agreement on any trigger point … and interesting that married people are treated the same as individuals …

    What do you mean by “making ? Does that mean the gross income on the worker’s paycheck with no allowances for tax deductions and other deductions (home mortgage, property taxes, etc.) Thus the presumption is that “working income is treated the same as passive income ( i.e. Paris Hilton’s dividends).
    So, if there are no deductions and gross income, does that mean that a business would pay based on it’s gross sales (sorta a national sales tax).
    Isn’t that the big difference between workers and business …. A working family cannot control its income reporting like a business … a business can make year-end purchases based on tax liability (ask any farmer when do you buy a new combine and he will tell you after the crops are sold.) or make benefit changes if so encouraged. IF a business deduction for employee benefits was excluded, there would be major shift in how many companies provide health insurance, life insurance, retirement plans, … yet I bet the Corporate jets would still fly.

    BTW, is there any State that has a Flat Tax ? I hear many advocate that for the Federal Government should have a Flat or Fair Tax, but where is the movement at the state level ?

    IMO, we need to enact a sur-tax to pay for the national defense payable based on gross income (line 22 of IRS 1040). Currently DoD accounts for roughly 20% of our spending … with a lot of that going to military contractors to build the next generation of weapons … if people started paying a sur-tax they question Congress on why we need 9 carrier groups when no other nation has more than 1 … or why we are ordering so many F-35 aircraft when the costs are so much more than the current available aircraft. And a sur-tax works, since those with the most income probably have more to lose without a visible defense.

    Mac Hall

    1. Great follow-up, M. Apparently the tax-rate question is eternal. I’m not at all interested in a flat tax; when does a democracy treat all of its citizens exactly equally? There is no history of such a set-up. The more well-to-do are expected to pay more and the poor, less. Democracy does not infer exactness or evenness.

      Many on the right-side of the spectrum have ‘bought’ the much-propagandized ‘flat tax’ theory without too much thinking. But then, propaganda does not entail thought.

      Speaking of not much thought, as well as a perfect example of the effects of the 24/7 professional propagandists on AM radio, I read a statement this morning written by a right-winger who proclaimed, “The reason that corporations are going overseas is because they are taxed to greatly.” Yes, that was his statement. It is a perfect example of the effectiveness of of professional propaganda.

      So, ids there any wonder why the flat tax issue won’t die a proper death?

  14. Hi everyone,

    Thanks for your input Minnesota. I will definately look more closely into your points. My thought was this, maybe you can give me an answer. If tax rates were lowered for the very wealthy, and loopholes and exemtions were closed. Wouldn’t the wealthy end up paying more in taxes? Or would it end up being the same? I thought the ‘corporate’ exemptions and loopholes is what made it possible for companies like G.E. to pay so little in taxes last year.

    As far as a “progressive” nature of taxes goes. Yes I do favor a few Liberal Tax ideas. I think corporations should pay alot more in taxes. I have even stated in the past that if an American-based company moves overseas, they should pay huge taxes on their profits.

    However, my whole point behind a flat tax is this. This country is way overlimit on their ‘creit card’ right now. Just trying to make interest payments? Why not ban together as citizens and pay the whole damn thing off. Then we can start fresh, hopefully learning from past mistakes.

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