Sunday, September 20, 2015

Brief Notes On: Unintended Consequences, Gay Doritos, Earthquake Prep, And Corporate Personhood

1.  Talking about changes in rules that were supposed to shorten the Republican presidential selection process as reported in the NY Times:
“You’ve got a set of unintended consequences that weren’t planned for,” said Richard F. Hohlt, a Republican donor and Washington lobbyist."
My problem with this is obvious, right?

2.  From SFGate about rainbow colored doritos:
"Doritos are a product marketed to children, so they make the perfect gateway snack to introduce children to the joys of homosexuality," writes Ed Straker of the ironically named American Thinker website. "What business does PepsiCo have pushing homosexuality on our kids?
 While Straker classifies the different colored Doritos – "green are homosexual, the pink are lesbian" – he fails to tell readers how many chips you have to eat in order to turn gay.  Or turn stupid.

3.  LA Times had what looks like a useful  Earthquake preparation quiz.  Other related articles looked more like a Sharper Image Earthquake special catalogue.

4.  Something for liberals to think about in a January/February 2015 Washington Monthly piece: Let Us Now Praise Corporate Persons.   I haven't totally figured out all the implications of what he's arguing or whether there are other fixes that would solve the problems he raises OR whether the Move To Amend people are, as he implies, using an axe to do brain surgery on the constitution. Here are some appetizers for the rest of the article. 
Citizens United was a bad decision; but the cry of “Corporations are not people!” isn’t helping fix the problem—in fact, it’s making it worse.
By Kent Greenfield

"The American left is notoriously fractious. But one belief that unites more than most is this: corporations are not people. .  .

But the attack on corporate personhood is a mistake. And it may, ironically, be playing into the hands of the financial and managerial elite."
He gives some examples of cases where he claims corporate personhood is important.
"In a legal system without corporate personhood, the channel for that outrage [after the Deepwater oil spill]  would be limited to lawsuits and criminal inquiries against individual human beings responsible—managers, workers, and contractors. That’s important, of course. In any legal jurisdiction worth its salt, the search for culpable individuals has to be part of the settling-up of any man-made disaster. But it should not be all. No human being—except, perhaps, Bill Gates—would have enough money to compensate those harmed by a massive disaster like Deepwater Horizon. Because a corporate entity is also on the hook, there’s a chance for something approaching real compensation or real responsibility. Corporate personhood is thus not only a mechanism for the creation of wealth (by encouraging investment), it is also a mechanism for enforcing accountability (by providing a deep pocket to sue)."

Another example he offers is the NY Times and Washington Post using their corporate first amendment rights to publish the Pentagon Papers (classified RAND studies that disputed what the public was being told about the Vietnam war.)
"In 1971, for example, the government sought to stop the New York Times, a for-profit, publicly traded media conglomerate, and the Washington Post, which had gone public as a corporation only a few weeks previously, from publishing the leaked Pentagon Papers. The Supreme Court correctly decided that the newspapers had a First Amendment right to publish. That was one of the most important free speech decisions of the twentieth century. At the time, no one seriously suggested that the correct answer to the constitutional question was that the Times and the Post, as corporations, had no standing to bring a constitutional claim at all. (And for those of you saying to yourselves, “Well, this isn’t a good example, since the newspapers are protected by the First Amendment’s press clause”: the Court has never given any greater substance to the press clause not already covered in the freedom of speech."
 My reaction is that corporations could have some other kind of identity - say as corporations - that has the kinds of protections he says they need, without giving them access to the rights of human beings.  He points out that corporations can't vote (at least not at the ballot box).  He knows a lot more about business law than I do, so I don't know.  Worth reading, if nothing else, to be aware of his arguments and then develop a credible response.  

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