Sunday, October 31, 2010

Corporate Personhood: Fact or Fantasy?

One of the delights associated with newspaper reading is the random encounter with an article whose headline might not have drawn you to it online, but which, with idle page-turning, happens to catch your attention for no reason other than pure serendipity.

Religion sections having become an exotic species in newspapers of late, my curiosity was piqued by a headline in the Cape Cod Times: Do Corporations Have Souls? The author (The Rev. Edmund Robinson) starts out with a Halloween peg about the ancient Celtic holiday of Samhain, during which "the veil between this world and the other world was said to be at its thinnest, allowing the fairy folk to escape the sidhe, or fairy hill, and wander about in human villages."

It was but a short narrative leap from those shades and spirits to the incorporeal entities now frighteningly empowered to fund election campaigns anonymously, courtesy of the Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United, a case which infamously declared corporations to be persons under the law, and therefore entitled to all of the free speech protections of the 1st Amendment.

Robinson then proceeds to demolish the premise of corporate personhood as a theological absurdity, a compelling perspective not previously encountered in my readings on the subject.

We may of course choose to accept or reject his doctrinal arguments according to our own religious convictions, but there is no getting around his essentially humanistic contention that corporations are not people because they are not mortal, and, consequently, neither die nor harbor fear of death, a uniquely human imperative that existentially influences our behavior, hopefully for the better.

I commend the complete article to your attention.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Promises, promises

So amazed was I to encounter on the front page of our local newspaper a headline stating that one of our congressional candidates has an actual "plan" to offer, rather than the usual mix of glittering generalities and ad hominem calumny, that I hastened to read the article.

Alas, t'was not to be. It seems that the candidate's plan relies heavily for implementation upon passing two Constitutional Amendments, despite the fact that in the 222 years since the Bill of Rights was ratified, over 10,000 Amendments have been offered and only 17 have passed (the ERA having been on life support since 1923).

One must therefore reluctantly conclude that we are, as usual, being offered only what those of us old enough to still be reading newspapers call "pie in the sky".

We is Sarah

Without becoming unduly obsessive about the essential witlessness of Sarah Palin, her most irritating trait may well be her insistence on referring to herself in the 1st person plural.

Acceptable use of the imperial we is pretty much restricted to sovereigns and heads of state, and, even then, is generally derided in democracies as an affectation; especially when utilized by someone holding no public office whatsoever.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Journo Knocks Jock Pols

Robert Lipsyte, the justly-celebrated veteran sportswriter, writes (on Huffpost) that ex-athletes make lousy politicians. He sets up his premise thus:

Keep in mind that the sports-industrial complex tends to produce narrow-minded, self-centered, ethically-challenged mercenaries who are deeply submissive to established authority while being fiercely dedicated to winning by any means possible.  Or as one of my old political advisers, Sam Hall Kaplan, a former New York Times and Los Angeles Times reporter, puts it: "A pol who learned as an athlete just who ultimately butters his bread can be counted on to continue to wave to the crowds while doing the bidding of the owners." And the owners these days, thanks to the umpires (... er, Supreme Court) are likely to be unnamed billionaire warlords donating to right-wing candidates through dummy organizations that have no requirement to open their books to the voters.

Read the entire article here.







Friday, October 8, 2010

Beware of Greeks

As skeptics have long suspected, "ancient Greek civilization" — and its attendant cultural baggage — has been exposed as a fabrication artfully constructed by renegade historians. Coming as it does just before mid-terms, the news elicited a collective sigh of relief from overstressed Ph.D candidates, nationwide.

Read about this astonishing hoax here.