Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Shorewood hates freedom of the press


Here’s a story that you’d think the mainstream media would take more interest in.

A number of Wisconsin communities just voted to pull your freedom of speech.

I have often heard that, if the Bill of Rights was ever put to a vote, it would never pass. We’ve just seen an example of that.

Last week, the enlightened citizens of Shorewood, Whitefish Bay and several other communities voted to repeal the freedom of the press and of the free speech rights of organizations ranging from the NAACP to the National Rifle Association,

They passed an resolution calling for the Constitution to be amended to make clear that only “natural persons” have constitutional rights.

But associations of natural persons who have incorporated to form entities such as the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Planned Parenthood are ACLU are not themselves natural persons. The amendment would , as a practical matter, repeal the First Amendment right of all of these groups. It would repeal the free exercise rights of organized churches.

Quite frankly, the resolution was as deep bone silly as any resolution regarding creationism or human sexuality passed by the most fundamentalist county in the deepest corner of the benighted south.

You may object that they did not mean to do this. But wouldn’t it be better not to vote for what you did not understand?

Cross posted at Purple Wisconsin.

22 comments:

John Mitchell said...

Let us recall one of our dear professor’s New Years Resolutions...

"Another is to place the most uncharitable - and often unreasonable - interpretation on something that a person is said in order to label them as "racist," "homophobic," "un-American" or "pro-criminal."

Professor, are you NOT engaging in the same behavior you just lambasted in a previous post regarding a JS editor who purposely mischaracterized an event involving Senator Johnson? (Delicious irony)

Do you honestly believe that this community indeed despises the First Amendment?

"Haven’t you done enough, sir?”--Joseph Welch


“A number of Wisconsin communities just voted to pull your freedom of speech.”

Indeed, a resolution is a vote, but in the context of the story, you go for the hyperbolic jugular. They did not “vote” to “repeal” anything; they simply stated they they believe our Founding Fathers had made it explicitly clear that ONLY natural persons are deserving of political rights.

Corporations, non-profits, unions, PACs, etc. are LEGAL FICTIONS, created by charters granted by the government. “Personhood” are the liberties ORIGINALLY reserved exclusively for human beings, in this case American citizens. The distinction, which our dear professor clearly fails to note, is between “natural” and “artificial” personhood.

Thomas Jefferson, on the other hand, made it well-known of this delineation.

“I do not believe that in the four administrations which have taken place, there has been a single instance of departure from good faith towards other nations. We may sometimes have mistaken our rights, or made an erroneous estimate of the actions of others, but no voluntary wrong can be imputed to us. In this respect England exhibits the most remarkable phenomenon in the universe in the contrast between the profligacy of its government and the probity of its citizens. And accordingly it is now exhibiting an example of the truth of the maxim that virtue and interest are inseparable. It ends, as might have been expected, in the ruin of its people, but this ruin will fall heaviest, as it ought to fall, on that hereditary aristocracy which has for generations been preparing the catastrophe. I hope we shall take warning from the example and crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country.” ~Thomas Jefferson

To the Founding fathers, natural persons were born with rights inherent and given to us by God. “Natural rights” are available only to “natural persons” (singular), not “associations of natural persons” (plural). The common law distinction makes perfect sense.

John Mitchell said...

The professor is most assuredly being intellectually dishonest when he exalts that the Shorewoods and the Whitefish Bay’s of the world are usurping one’s liberties--those POLITICAL freedoms were purposely designed with the intent for human beings! Of course, corporations do have rights to protect their property, which may involve freedom of speech from an ECONOMIC perspective. These communities are NOT taking away anything.

Edward G. Ryan told the graduating class of the University of Wisconsin Law School: "[There] is looming up a new and dark power...the enterprises of the country are aggregating vast corporate combinations of unexampled capital, boldly marching, not for economic conquests only, but for political power...The question will arise and arise in your day, though perhaps not fully in mine, which shall rule - wealth or man; which shall lead - money or intellect; who shall fill public stations - educated and patriotric freemen, or the feudal serfs of corporate capital."

Indeed, the dirty little secret is that it took a court reporter, a former railroad executive, to write the following as part of a headnote in Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Company (1886)-- "The court does not wish to hear argument on the question whether the provision in the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which forbids a State to deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws, applies to corporations. We are all of the opinion that it does."

Except, the Supreme Court was NOT deciding on this specific matter! Thus, this case laid the foundation for subsequent cases involving "corporate personhood" from a political point of view.

Anonymous said...

Isn't that Shorewood, which allowed Keith Schmitz to bilk over $25,000 from village taxpayers?

They get what they deserve.

John Mitchell said...

Wrong thread, Anony 11:29 p.m.

Now, do you have anything of prohibitive value to offer in direct response to the thread?

Tom said...

John Mitchell, answer a simple question - do you want the New York Times to have freedom of speech?

Because anybody who votes for such a resolution either doesn't, or doesn't understand that this is the result (one among many) of amending the Constitution in the way called for by these resolutions.

Also you say of course corporations have rights to property. Except corporations WOULDN'T if such an amendment occurred. Government could search and seize property without warrants for any reason or no reason. Government could take real property away from corporations using eminent domain without paying fair value.

Anonymous said...

Keith Schmitz stole money.

John Mitchell said...

Wrong thread, Anony 8:59 a.m.

Again, anything of prohibitive value to offer in direct response to this post?



Tom--"John Mitchell, answer a simple question - do you want the New York Times to have freedom of speech?"

I will provide you with basically the same response when you inquired on a previous post on Monday, October 13.

Indeed, how should the Supreme Court treat newspapers, magazines, and television networks which report the news since media companies are “artificial entities”? Recall the Marshall Court ruled in Dartmouth College v. Woodward (1819) that corporations are an ARTIFICIAL BEING possessing the properties which the charter of creation confers upon it--meaning a government granted a business with the ECONOMIC right--not POLITICAL rights--to operate within its borders and ECONOMIC free speech in the form of promoting and protecting their business activities.

In media company cases, the Supreme Court has tailored its rulings under the "Freedom Of The Press" clause. In citizen cases, it has tailored its rulings under the "Freedom Of Speech" clause. In other words, when free speech issues come before the Supreme Court, they make the appropriate categorization (freedom speech or freedom of the press), hear arguments, and craft a legal opinion based on previous cases and past precedents for that particular category.

Twenty-two cases since 1936 have rendered decisions in that for-profit corporations DO NOT enjoy the same First Amendment rights as individuals; rather they extended only to those INDIVIDUALS WHO WORK FOR COMPANIES that are vehicles for producing and distributing free speech, such as books, newspapers, journals, films and other artistic and educational entities. That is, writers--actual people--who WORK for a media company are subject to the freedom of the press provision of the First Amendment. The “property” involved is the content of the story.

We know that exceptions exist to free speech (e.g. sedition, slander) for both media companies and citizens. Media companies, however, are unique in its role regarding free speech compared to other businesses; that is why the Supreme Court has made this distinction in its past rulings on matters involving people who work for media companies. If a reporter engaged in slander, they would be sued under their occupation as a writer employed by their company, i.e. freedom of the press. If a business owner engaged in slander, they would be sued as a private citizen, i.e. freedom of speech. Again, the Supreme Court has made this determination, and its rulings in these matters reflect those specific differences.


“Because anybody who votes for such a resolution either doesn't, or doesn't understand that this is the result (one among many) of amending the Constitution in the way called for by these resolutions.”



Nope, sorry. Doesn’t work that way. See above response.


“Also you say of course corporations have rights to property. Except corporations WOULDN'T if such an amendment occurred. Government could take real property away from corporations using eminent domain without paying fair value.”

No such amendment is currently being put forth, nor would that specific action receive the type of widespread support to even make it happen. There is precedent, case law, and legislation regarding the property rights of business that would in effect be null and voided IF this amendment would miraculously be passed by 3/4 of the states. You are being utterly ridiculous with this assertion.

Tom said...

Except your explanation ignores that the Freedom of Press recognized in corporations would cease to exist.

And you dangerously underestimate the pettiness of government officials (in particular local gov'ts who think they run their private fiefdoms) freed from constitutional restraints. Hell, we can't get the government to respect the constitutional restraints that exist. Give them even more rein and their abuse will get worse.

You must be confused, because you admit what I am saying - "There is precedent, case law, and legislation regarding the property rights of business that would in effect be null and voided IF this amendment would miraculously be passed" and then think that means I'm wrong. Yes, there is precedent based on the existing constitution protecting these rights of corporations. But the amendment proposed, if ever passed, would wipe that precedent off the books.

John Mitchell said...

“But the amendment proposed, if ever passed, would wipe that precedent off the books.”


Of course I acknowledge that a person could make this amendment, but the likelihood of it coming to fruition is...wait for it...a pipe dream. It’s a non-issue. So focusing on this “possibility” when the chances of it happening are similar to you becoming a convert to “big gummint” is a waste of digital ink. That is why you are wrong for bringing it up. It's...not...going...to...happen.


“Except your explanation ignores that the Freedom of Press recognized in corporations would cease to exist.”



My explanation is based on current reality, not some nonsense amendment that, again, is not going to pass. Keep beating a dead horse if you must--this amendment of removing property rights from companies has not been proposed nor would be supported. Its implications would be enormous. I understand you have backed yourself into a corner on this issue. If you want to keep flailing away, be my guest.


“And you dangerously underestimate the pettiness of government officials (in particular local gov'ts who think they run their private fiefdoms) freed from constitutional restraints.”

Strawman. I never made this argument, directly or implied. Besides, this statement is an entirely different matter unrelated to the thread.

Regardless, there are constitutional restraints in place, so it is a matter of our politicians AND our citizens to hold them accountable. By all means, be like Dad29 and run for office if you believe that today’s officials are “petty”. That would be wonderful.


In any event, do you have any qualms with my explanation regarding how the Supreme Court makes a distinction between freedom of speech for individuals and freedom of speech for media companies?

John Mitchell said...

"Here’s a story that you’d think the mainstream media would take more interest in."

Professor, there is NO such thing as "mainstream" or "alternative" media. It is simply media, one that you are part of. Besides, your position this matter was posted in a "mainstream" venue, which means that there was interest in this story.

Good, got it off my chest.

George Mitchell said...

I see the asshole who ruined Dad29's site is here.

John Mitchell said...

Ha, leave it to the deranged anony who poses as various nom de plumes, in this case George Mitchell, to ply his stalker trade here.

Listen, mental case midget, if you have anything of substance related to the thread, then please share.

I cannot help that you feel betrayed when Dad29 finally wised up to your antics.

Move along, the adults are talking!

George Mitchell said...

No, it's quite clear that Dad29 restricted comments because of your antics and unethical behavior.

George Mitchell said...

I would like to apologize for my behavior, since I was the one who in all likelihood that forced Dad29 to monitor his comments due to my antics. Any other negative comments are automatically attributed to me and me only. John Mitchell and any other commenters thereafter have nothing to do with it, so if I continually drag him into the fray, it is entirely my doing. Totally ignore my future comments.

Tom said...

So, according to John's logic, if somebody proposed mass genocide, nobody should argue about why that would be a bad idea because, after all, it's never actually going to happen. Got it.

John Mitchell said...

“So, according to John's logic, if somebody proposed mass genocide, nobody should argue about why that would be a bad idea because, after all, it's never actually going to happen. Got it.”

First, you are purposely or unwittingly employing a classic Alinsky tactic--If you push a negative hard and deep enough it will break through into its counter side. You defend when you absolutely have to, but ultimately you are relentlessly attacking on something so fundamentally flawed that nearly no one is even considering taking that course of action. I thought conservatives despised him! Oh well, live and learn.

Second, your statement is a red herring. The topic at hand is a constitutional amendment, not a “proposal”, and nor is it one that advocates a heinous crime against humanity. Do you truly believe that a person would even attempt to craft an amendment that sought to eradicate an entire group of people? And that I would condone such an action?

The topic is NOT mass genocide; it is a proposed constitutional amendment that would, in essence, seize property from companies, which is ludicrous on its face, yet you repeatedly insist that it is a “possibility”. Yes, it could happen, but it’s not going to happen. Keep flailing, it is most entertaining. Perhaps you will realize that you should just walk away from further embarrassment.

Third, I ask again--Do you have any qualms with my explanation regarding how the Supreme Court makes a distinction between freedom of speech for individuals and freedom of speech for media companies?

Tom said...

Let me break it down to the simplest possible and maybe you'll understand.

Large group of people propose that X happens. People around the nation are calling on government to do X. You keep telling me that it's wrong of me to discuss why X would be a bad idea.

Care to explain why we shouldn't be discussing the merits of X?

Tom said...

Because if you can't do that in your next post, I'm giving up on you. Better make it good.

John Mitchell said...

“Let me break it down to the simplest possible and maybe you'll understand.”



Oh, I understand it all right. You are wearing Wonderwoman’s deflecting bracelets. How do they fit?


“Large group of people propose that X happens. People around the nation are calling on government to do X. You keep telling me that it's wrong of me to discuss why X would be a bad idea.”

Summoning Alinsky yet again! He must really be your hero.

I am only telling you it is wrong because it is foolhardy for people to waste precious time discussing the “merits” of a specific proposal--one that has been correctly dismissed by the professor!--offered by a couple of communities that has NO widespread appeal, that has a less of a chance of you becoming a convert of liberalism or even being made into a law or constitutional amendment, and has a shit storm of epic consequences that would result if it was even attempted to be put into practice. Because “pettiness of government officials”.

Enjoy your hypothetical, nonsensical scenarios. I will focus on things that are a tad bit more likely to occur.

So, if you want to offer a specific instance of what is “X” in a reasonable situation, by all means, Tom, proceed.


But, before you do, do you have any qualms with my explanation regarding how the Supreme Court makes a distinction between freedom of speech for individuals and freedom of speech for media companies?”

Because if you can’t do that in your next post, I’m giving up on you (shakes head and laughs incessantly).

John Mitchell said...

To "George Mitchell"...

"John Mitchell bragged about leaving numerous sexually explicit and racist comments on this board, and said his goal was to so the same on other conservative blogs in order to discredit them."

Patently false. We all know there is some deranged anony (see GM) who made Dad29's life miserable, and after some soul-searching, he decided to enable comment moderation. Which I personally have no problem with. All he has to do is match up the IP's of those individuals (see GM) who spewed filth and you would definitely find out that my IP was definitively not part of the Devil's work. That would take honest effort on Dad29's part.

John Mitchell said...

Tom, hello, Tom, anybody home? Tom, hello?

Anonymous said...

"benighted south"? Is it not possible for you to critize a resolution in Shorewood without slandering an entire region of the United States? Please try to keep your prejudice in check.