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Warren Whacks Romney on Corporate Personhood

Last updated on 2014.07.09

I don't care how much Cherokee blood Elizabeth Warren has. The Democrat challenging rookie Republican Senator Scott Brown gets my blood pumping by challenging Mitt Romney and corporate personhood (hint, Matt):

The Republican nominee, Mitt Romney, said, "Corporations are people." No, Mitt, corporations are not people.... People have hearts. They have kids. They get jobs. They get sick, they laugh, they cry, they dance, they live and they die. Learn the difference.

...And Mitt, learn this. We don't run this country for corporations, we run it for people [Elizabeth Warren, Netroots Nation Conference, Providence, RI, 2012.06.08, quoted in Felicia Sonmez, "Elizabeth Warren to 'Romney-Brown Republicans': 'We don't run this country for corporations'," Washington Post, 2012.06.08].

I wonder: would Mitt Romney call all those denizens of 110 East Center in Madison shelf people?

In related news, Governor Dennis Daugaard has proclaimed today Jack Link's® Jerky Day.


  1. BW Schwartz 2012.06.12

    "I'll believe corporations are people the minute that Texas executes one" - unknown

  2. D.E. Bishop 2012.06.12

    I'm in love with Elizabeth Warren. We need about 65 Elizabeth Warren's in the Senate, and around 300 in the House. We could return this nation to real democracy!!! Woo-hoooo!!!!

  3. Vickie 2012.06.12

    DD,Mitt,and Jerky all in one article. Fitting. ;)

  4. larry kurtz 2012.06.12

    Thank you, women, for contributing here: you have elevated discussion here for the better!

  5. Bree S. 2012.06.12

    Approximately three quarters of all U.S. businesses are sole proprietorships (I've read a range of percentages from 70-80%). So we can choose to deliberately misunderstand what Romney was saying of course. It is a free country still.

  6. Bree S. 2012.06.12

    Did she translate the press release into Tsalagi as well?

  7. D.E. Bishop 2012.06.13

    That's funny Larry. Really.

  8. Bree S. 2012.06.13

    Yes, I wonder how we could return this country to a democracy when it has never been one, and has in fact always been a republic.

  9. grudznick 2012.06.13

    Scott Brown has Mr. H's blood pumping.

  10. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.06.13

    To review, Bree: the observation "Republic, not a Democracy!" has ">no practical bearing on policy discussion whatsoever. What does that statement mean, that we should not be alarmed by ballot counting errors? That people shouldn't vote? That corporations are people? How does that popular little phrase mean anything other than, "Ooo, look at me, my I.Q. is higher than yours"?

  11. Bree S. 2012.06.13

    For the record, I've never had my I.Q. checked, nor do I have much respect for standardized testing. I am also obviously not as educated as you are since I had to look up "paraprosdokian" the other day. Of course, I also immediately forgot what it meant. I am also not a historian, but luckily I have my husband to act as a walking reference.

    But I don't need him to tell me that it is a fact that we live in a Republic, and that it has always been a Republic and never a democracy. The founders of our country, whose writings show they were clearly brilliant, put much thought into the system of government we operate under. For example, they spent a long time in grueling debate before they decided the Electoral College was a better system than the popular vote.

    I do agree with your case on this blog regarding the corruption and cronyism inherent in a one party rule. How you can manage to keep your party members from defecting to the other side I have no idea, but it does seem to be a problem.

  12. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.06.13

    Nice speech, Bree. But not a word of your first two paragraphs tells me why "Republic Not a Democracy!™" matters to practical policy and more than shouting, "The sky is blue!" It's true, but irrelevant.

  13. PrairieLady 2012.06.13

    Our founding fathers did not like corporations. They saw what happened in Britian when the corporations put alot of money into elections and most of the men in Parliment owned stock. The corporations had a great deal of influence over government. (Does that sound familiar?)
    The founding fathers decided corporations could only deal in one commodity, limited their trade, could not hold stock in other companies and their life was limited to 20-30 years. Corporations were were granted charters by states. Some of the states had laws it was a crime for corporations to contribute to elections.
    The East India was the largest corporation dealing in America and dominated trade, which angered the colonist so much they dumped tea in the Boston harbor.
    I don't think our founding fathers would be very happy with Citizens United today.

  14. Bree S. 2012.06.14

    Can you give me any quotes where the founding fathers talked against corporations, because I haven't read any. By the way, have you heard of "Wealth of Nations?"

  15. Troy 2012.06.14

    We are a Republic which means the power to make law rests with a body of representatives and the law is administered by a citizen selected (vs. born into the position). We are a democracy because the citizens select the representatives and executive.

    A direct democracy is where the people make the law.

    We are thus a democratic Republic and not a direct democracy.

  16. Bill Fleming 2012.06.14

    Nationally Troy, yes. On the state level, not necessarily.

  17. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.06.14

    Oh, PL! To hearken back to the original Tea Party as a response to corporate oppression! Lovely!

    Troy, yes, but again, how does that have any bearing on practical policy-making? On this topic, does "RNAD!™" change any of our responses to corporate power? Does "RNAD!™" strengthen or weaken the case for corporate personhood?

  18. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.06.14

    And Adam Smith? Why yes, he and I are acquainted. An inked-up copy of Wealth of Nations sits six feet away from me. Among my favorite passages are his discussion of the proper roles of government (protecting us from invaders, protecting us from each other, and doing the necessary things the free market cannot and will not do) and the following statement that shows more suspicion of corporations than embrace of laizzez-faire: "People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation sends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices."

    Adam Smith tells us that government is here to protect the public against such selfish conspiracy.

  19. Bill Fleming 2012.06.14

    RNAD!â„¢ is being used by the GOP to justify voter disenfranchisement and suppression, Cory. The state of Michigan is a runaway example of the effect. In that state, the citizen vote is meaningless, even on the local city council level. It's a euphemism for totalitarian tyranny and single party rule by plutocratic oligarchy wherein corporations regulate government instead of vice versa.

  20. Barry Smith 2012.06.14

    "RNAD" seems to be tossed into a conversation anytime the word "Democracy" is used, as if folks are somehow unable to understand the concept. Troy's single paragraph shows how simple the concept is. It would seem to me that corporate personhood damages the democratic portion of the concept, by making some citizens ( corporations) vastly more important to the elected representatives than others. facilitating a rise to an aristocracy of corporations.
    Bill Moyers said on Colbert one night " I will believe that corporations are people when Texas executes one".

  21. Bill Fleming 2012.06.14

    Exactly, Barry. That's why states that don't have an I & R constitutional option should get one, and those that do should fight hard to pereserve and strengthen it, resisting any legislative efforts to weaken it.

    Our democratic participation in government is hanging by a thread. And sickeningly, it is in the ruling party's best interest to feed voter apathy by msking politics so disgusting, no self respecting person would want to participate in it.

    Time to clean out the shithouse.

  22. Bill Fleming 2012.06.14

    Excellent, Barry. The other day a good Republican friend (who shall remain nameless ...unless he wants to admit to it here ;^) wrote to me in an email that he thought I might be an illigitimate lovechild of FDR and his mistress. I replied simply (and with alacrity) "I wish!"

  23. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.06.14

    Excellent links, guys. I really like FDR's comments on the concentration of economic power. Our Constitution and federalism are all about making sure power doesn't concentrate in any one branch or area and create an imbalance. That's checks and balances. The same tension exists in the private sector, and between private interest and public good, and between the majority and the minority. Corporations upset that balance by creating ways to concentrate wealth and power that real people don't have.

    On the other main topic here, RNAD!â„¢ feels like it contradicts much of the spirit of the Tea Party itself. I hear protests from Howie, Randazzo, et al. that Pierre and Washington aren't listening, that decisions are made from the top that oppress the will of the people. They encourage citizen participation and voting. But RNAD!â„¢ says trust those elites, trust the center. I just don't get it.

  24. Barry Smith 2012.06.14

    My Grandfather would have loved ya Bill! He had a portrait of FDR Hanging in house until he died in 1976. When I would ask him about it he would say " If it wasn't for FDR son you wouldn't even be here".

  25. Bill Fleming 2012.06.14

    Barry, perfect. LOL. Cory, yes, the Tea Party people forget that the original Tea Party action was AGAINST corporations.

  26. Troy 2012.06.14


    The guy who said you are such a love child is either an idiot or you have to be at least 67 years old. And, if you are 67, you are falsely professing your age which would make you a vain or trying to pick up younger chicks using deciet.

    So, what is it? Is that guy an idiot and bad at math, are you pompously vain, or a dirty old man?

  27. Bill Fleming 2012.06.14

    Troy, I tell everybody I'm 62 years old, born the Ides of March in 1950. But after reading Bob Ellis's lecture that the speed of light is perhaps not constant and the possibility that our planet is only 6000 years old and that we once rode dinosaurs, I'm bracketing all my preconceptions about the flow of time these days. Besides, I would never call any good friend of mine an idiot. ;^)

  28. Troy 2012.06.14


    Just because you are too nice to call the guy an idiot (it is a guy isn't it?), you are honestly advertising your age, and FDR has been dead for 67 years meaning you can't be such a love child, the guy is an idiot. Say it! :)

  29. Bill Fleming 2012.06.14

    Well yes, the gender is male. I should at least disclose that to prevent any further speculation on your part about my "dirty old man-ness." But as far as the "idiot" thing goes, the guy is otherwise pretty smart and good with numbers. I think maybe he just had a brainf*rt.

    (While 10 years or so my junior, he's not exactly a spring chicken himself I've noticed, although I would never tell him that ;^)

  30. Carter 2012.06.14

    Thank you, Prairie Lady, that was quite interesting. Someone remind me to pick up a copy of Wealth of Nations.

    Since people seem to be ignoring Cory, I'll give it a shot. How does yelling "Republic not democracy!" help any argument? Don't tell me why we live in a republic. Don't tell me why this isn't a democracy. I know why, and I don't care. I want to know (like Cory) why the argument matters at all.

    I firmly believe it's a distraction tactic for when you don't have a good answer to something.

  31. Barry Smith 2012.06.14

    Carter I think also much of it is just the human compulsion to correct someone else who one believes doesn't understand a concept. Coupled with the self gratification that comes when one thinks they know something that someone else doesn't know.

  32. Bill Fleming 2012.06.14

    ...and I think it's an aid to self-delusion and apathy, two affects corporations (and their political counterparts) count on within our body politic to keep "we the people" just off balance enough to discourage revolt.

    "There is nothing a fool won't get used to." — Michael McDonald

  33. Bree S. 2012.06.14

    I've just skimmed these responses as I've got other things to do, but I do have one thing to say. Stating that the founding fathers didn't like corporations at all because they were concerned about their influence on elections is very misleading. The people who set up our free market society were obviously not against the existence of corporations.

    I think we should all be concerned about where the money comes from that gets funneled to political groups. For example, I personally am concerned about Charles Schwab's support for left-wing terrorists. Charles Schwab's charitable fund donates money to the Justice Through Music Project. The Director of the JTMP is Brett Kimberlin. Brett Kimberlin went to federal prison for setting off roadside bombs in Speedway, Indiana - a suburb of Indianapolis that has the Indy 500 track.

  34. Barry Smith 2012.06.14

    @ Carter is this an example of the distraction that you mentioned?

  35. Carter 2012.06.14

    Yes, Barry, it is an example of the distraction I mentioned. If the distracter had a real response, I venture to guess she would have addressed something along the lines of what exactly made early America a free market, when all the links just presented showed early America as much more along the lines of a fair market.

    Instead, we get a discussion on modern day supporting of left-wing terrorists. I usually take things like this to mean the commenter doesn't have a good counter-argument.

  36. Prairie Lady 2012.06.14

    Hummm that was interesting.... I see what Carter is saying.

    I use to tell my Mom, that she should not ask me questions that she really didn't want to know the answers too.

  37. larry kurtz 2012.06.14

    A corporation is only a gleam in the eye of its creator until:

    47-1A-203. Incorporation. Unless a delayed effective date is specified, the corporate existence begins when the articles of incorporation are filed. The Office of the Secretary of State's filing of the articles of incorporation is conclusive proof that the incorporators satisfied all conditions precedent to incorporation except in a proceeding by the state to cancel or revoke the incorporation or involuntarily dissolve the corporation.
    Source: SL 2005, ch 239, § 32.

    Corporate life begins at the moment of scrivening.

  38. larry kurtz 2012.06.14

    asexual reproduction: how boring.

  39. Bill Fleming 2012.06.14

    Look, a butterfly!
    Can I have a peanut?

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