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Archive for the ‘Institutional Stupidity’ Category

So I heard President Sub Par on the news at lunch making all sorts of demands in relation to the Malaysian Air shoot down…a cease fire in the area between all parties, access to the crash site for investigators, blah, blah, blah blah, and all I could think was “Who does he think he’s kidding?”

During his tenure in the Oval Office, he’s squandered any authority that the Presidency  might have still carried over from his infinitely more qualified predecessors, and has done his best to ensure that he has built none of his own.   I physically cringe whenever I hear this pretender adopt the manner of an irritated professor, and presume to lecture anyone, let alone foreign leaders who have already tested him, only to learn that the force of his conviction will never take him any farther than he can comfortably hear his own voice and the approval of his reality-challenged sycophants.

It scares me that he can walk out in front of cameras and the presstitute corpse, and pretend that he’s really felt all along that the shoot down was an “outrage of unspeakable proportions” when yesterday, while in campaign mode, he spent all of less than a minute to pontificate that it “may be a terrible tragedy”, before launching back into a scripted speech that contained a number of attempts at jokes.   Anyone observing the Great Narcissus for any period of time at all would have to wonder if he at least waited until he got off the podium before he could concentrate on how Presidential and Important he looked, or how he could get his golf handicap down.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again.  As a President, he is most unserious man to ever hold the office.  His ME-centric approach to all things domestic and foreign is embarrassing, as is his contempt for the America that was worthwhile and a beacon of hope to people all around the world.  When he offered his unsolicited opinion on the events in Israel, I was not surprised by what I heard.  Much like his criticism of the Cambridge Police revealed his willingness to weigh in on that matter without having a clue what he was talking about, his comments about the need for Israel to “show restraint” revealed to the world that he either hasn’t bothered with his security briefings (something REAL Presidents get out of bed in the morning and attend before going to do actual work), or that he didn’t pay attention to any briefing given.  Either way, he is an embarrassment and the primary reason for our current tarnished prestige in the world today.  I find myself somewhat disheartened when I hear some pundits try to craft an analogy that would serve to make the situation clear to anyone capable of logic independent of ideology.  “What if it was Mexico lobbing missiles in at U.S cities?”  they ask.  I just shake my head.  “How is that different from allowing passage through their country to ours by a wave of people utterly willing to break our laws as if it is their right to do so?” I ask in reply.   If President Selfie didn’t want to go see the chaos on the border himself when he had a chance, because he didn’t “want a photo-op”, why do you think that other threats to this country would affect him in any meaningful way?  He doesn’t understand America.  Whether it’s been “at some point, you’ve just made enough money” or berating citizens who “bitterly cling to their Bibles and guns” or his curiously selective recitations of the Declaration of Independence or his fundamental mischaracterization of American exceptionalism, he revels in demonstrating that he doesn’t get this country.   If it were Mexico lobbing missiles at American cities, I’m sure that he would summon members of La Raza and Mecha to the White House so he could publicly and abjectly apologize to them “on behalf of all Americans” and then try to find a way to surrender to them.  For him, the only times tragedies happen is when someone asks him a real question and he just wants to finish his waffle, when he is asked a question he’ll pretend is above his pay grade, despite his previous expressions of clear opinions addressing the matter from another side, or when his subjects expect him to do his job and he just wants to enjoy his taxpayer-funded Hawaiian vacation.

Like previous expressions of outrage, and breathlessly declared red lines, I expect nothing will come today’s remarks.  After all, we’ll soon be paying for yet another lavish vacation on Martha’s Vineyard for him and his family, far away from the relocation centers all over the country where the last stage of ICE’s “Catch and Release” kabuki theatre is being played out.  Besides, he has more important things to worry about.  Like the nagging grocery carts his wife wants to put in our grocery stores around the country…because it would be impossible for us to properly feed ourselves without her enlightened guidance.  They only have to make sure we do what they say, and not what they do.

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For a while now, some conservative pundits and individuals have portrayed our current political predicament as being akin to the “zombie apocalypse”.  It is an easy comparison to make, and it isn’t even a new one, as demonstrated by our friend, Packy East, in this clip:

But ask I drove to work this morning, listing to a discussion about the ridiculous and costly nature of public sector unions, and how government, led by the EPA, was standing in the way of what should be a very simple infrastructure improvement that would allow American businesses to remain competitive moving forward into the 21st Century, and this story about the Bureau of Land Management harassing a rancher in southern Nevada, I realized that the zombie analogy wasn’t entirely accurate.

Don’t get me wrong.  I think the zombies are still out there, shuffling along, and multiplying quickly, but I realized this morning that there is a better analogy of the relationship between our government and its citizens:

facehugger

I trust no further explanation is necessary.

Those who are paying attention will get it.

Those accustomed to stupid government tricks will get it.

The zombies will engage in ad hominems to prevent others from getting it.

The grievance pimps will take to their fainting couches with wicked, crippling cases of the vapors.

And it will still be true.

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No matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to get away from the legalized marijuana issues.

I was talking with an acquaintance this week about idiocy of Washington’s tax scheme for legalized marijuana.  He’s a numbers guy and is well-versed in tax bureaucracies, and their miraculously functional illogic.  We had started out by discussing how the measure was sold in this state, which focused almost exclusively on “new tax revenue” and “being able to focus law enforcement on other matters other than marijuana-related offenses”.  (I’ve lived in this state for 13 years, and I can say I was aware of any great law enforcement push to enforce the laws when it comes to marijuana.  But then, that may be influenced by the fact that police departments pass out munchies to those openly defying the law, so there’s that…)  It also flies in the face of data which is pretty clear that we don’t have an epidemic of incarceration solely because of marijuana possession and use.

The dual-mindedness of the people in this state on this issue simply boggles the mind.  The state has undergone a crusade against smoking in which some counties decided that bad second-hand smoke studies were a good basis for banning smoking in all public places, including bars and restaurants specifically set up to cater to smoking customers, and the state legislature followed shortly after with a ban on smoking in all public places, including within 25 feet of any doorway.  This was followed by local authorities moving to ban people from smoking in their own residences if they live in public housing.  The legislature, not to be out done, came back with a proposal to ban smoking in an automobile if there are children present.  And yet these very same tyrant wannabes needed a drool rag to wipe up after their tax lust.  I have yet to hear how all but banning the smoking of tobacco products can be an imperative for public health, and yet pot smoking doesn’t create some of the very same harms we’re preventing with the anti-smoking crusade.  The utter dishonesty of it sickens me.  Putting aside the addiction issue.  Putting aside the evidence (yes, I know that the studies are mixed) regarding how much longer marijuana impairs you than alcohol does, I defy anyone in the public health community to tell me that smoking tobacco is a public health threat that requires increasing restrictions on liberty, but that lighting up a joint is something that the government should be cool with.  But then, if there was any honesty, it would require an admission that the government is ok with harm to its citizens, as long as it is getting paid.

But then the police being able to concentrate on “other offenses” is really a poor argument too.  It isn’t an accident that as part of the move to legalize recreational marijuana use, the state legislature had to set limits for legal impairment for drivers with regard to their use of marijuana…meaning that they knew what everyone knew, and didn’t want to discuss.  That as with alcohol, there would be people who would not be able to stop themselves from using, and driving, and that like with alcohol, people would be harmed as a result.

And now, in the fashion we have come to expect in this country, it appears that even toking up isn’t immune to forces of entitlement and the playing of race cards, as this story in The Root demonstrates.

When I read this story earlier this week, I realized that if the Earth was going to have an extinction-level collision with an asteroid, I’d probably be up on the roof, writing “Hit Here First”.  Just the very idea that white people will get all the good weed is a fair condensed version of everything that is wrong with this country today.   I read the headline, and thought to myself that I would give my last dollar to be able to go back in time, and be right there to respond to Rodney King’s famous question with an emphatic “NO!”

We aren’t even fiddling while Rome burns any more.  We’re sitting in the ashes, and blaming each other because it is too hot.  With stratospheric “real” unemployment numbers, a government addicted to spending what it doesn’t have, and an educational system that would have made Ponzi blanch at its brazenness, people now want to worry that someone might get a better buzz than they did, simply because of their skin color.  And the people who are most worried don’t seem to care that each of those problems with society are magnified in “their communities”…a problem which the community organizer in chief is unable or unwilling to solve, opting instead to use race as a wedge, and pursue redistribution.  But then, smart people realize that the “If a man is hungry, take someone else’s fish at gunpoint and give it to him” is a plan that simply discourages fishing.

Then there is the “WHAT?” factor to the underlying logic.  I grew up next to a large urban center(and went to college in it) that was living under similar economic conditions before Obama and the Democrats took them nationwide.  It didn’t seem to affect the ability of persons of color to obtain Hennessy, Couvoisier, Tanqueray, etc.  In fact, I never once heard a concern uttered about the white people getting all the good booze.  The article suggests that we had to have Obama as President to get us to the point of seriously considering marijuana legalization.  It seems only fair that since he is intent on limiting the economy so that everything but the amounts we spend on his vacations and golf is a finite resource, that someone could now publish a piece about the fear of segregation of pot based on race and NOT do so as a work of satire.

Things like this almost make me want to root for the collapse of our civilization.  But instead, it may prove more profitable for those in power to simply let us fade away in a cloud of smoke and mellowness…as long as someone with a different skin color doesn’t get a better class of weed.  Maybe we could get Philip Morris to come up with a couple of premium blends.  Then we could solve the problem, AND make an evil corporation cool again.

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So once again, a member of academia decided to give President Obama a tongue bath in public.  This time, the offender is Jonathan Zimmerman, a professor of history and eduminication at NYU, who published a shallow bit of wishcasting called “End Presidential Term Limits” at the WAPOO.

I actually resisted writing about this nonsense for a day or so, but I keep finding it in friends’ feeds, so I finally put on my waders and ventured in.  The dumb is strong is in this “expert”.  I find this disappointing, as historians usually have to demonstrate an ability to connect the dots, but, I don’t think Professor Zimmerman ever has.

Professor Zimmerman starts by lamenting the fact that term limits force the executive to use persuasion rather than personality to get second-term agenda items passed:

In 1947, Sen. Harley Kilgore (D-W.Va.) condemned a proposed constitutional amendment that would restrict presidents to two terms. “The executive’s effectiveness will be seriously impaired,” Kilgore argued on the Senate floor, “ as no one will obey and respect him if he knows that the executive cannot run again.”

Of course, it isn’t the job of the Senate or the House to “obey” the President.   That’s not why they are elected, or in the case of the Senate, why they were once appointed by the state legislatures.

I’ve been thinking about Kilgore’s comments as I watch President Obama, whose approval rating has dipped to 37 percent in CBS News polling — the lowest ever for him — during the troubled rollout of his health-care reform. Many of Obama’s fellow Democrats have distanced themselves from the reform and from the president. Even former president Bill Clinton has said that Americans should be allowed to keep the health insurance they have.

Of course, even Bill Clinton wouldn’t have dreamed of simply declaring that some parts of the law were hereby suspended or altered by executive fiat alone.

Or consider the reaction to the Iran nuclear deal. Regardless of his political approval ratings, Obama could expect Republican senators such as Lindsey Graham (S.C.) and John McCain (Ariz.) to attack the agreement. But if Obama could run again, would he be facing such fervent objections from Sens. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Robert Menendez (D-N.J.)?

Of course, a President not suffering from extraordinary narcissistic tendencies might actually take such opposition from members of his own party as an indicator that his chosen negotiator eagerly accepted the offer of a crisp new Ten Dollar Bill in exchange for two Twenties, and that he betrayed multiple strategic partners in the process.   Alas, Obama is not that President.

Probably not. Democratic lawmakers would worry about provoking the wrath of a president who could be reelected. Thanks to term limits, though, they’ve got little to fear.

Seriously,  for a “history” professor, he seems to have ignored one of the major features of the American Republic.  The executive’s wrath should not be something “feared” by members of Congress.  It would interfere with their duty to their constituents, the independence and judgment they are intended to exercise in their own elective service, and would completely violate the whole notion of “separation of powers”.  Even as someone who purports to support lowercase “d” democracy, it should be apparent to Professor Brain Donor that there is value in the ability to persuade Congress and the American People that your initiatives and agenda items have value, will work, and most of all will not limit, or harm the freedoms of the American people.  This is likely the primary reason that Professor Zimmerman and other tyrant worshipers in academia advocate for precisely the opposite; the President has never been successful at such persuasion.  Either because he is not willing to make his case in a many in which he has to treat those he “rules” as equals, let alone their representatives, or because he simply isn’t capable, as it would stretch him far outside his comfort zone where he utters glittering generalities, and his audience swoons and fawns, or the darker, more revealing place where he adopts the pose of the unrepentant ideologue, banging his shoe against the podium while denouncing those who dare to question his divine pronouncements, made completely without the burden of ever having to cross the line from intellectual conceptualism to actual implementation and management of reality.

That was the argument of our first president, who is often held up as the father of term limits. In fact, George Washington opposed them. “I can see no propriety in precluding ourselves from the service of any man who, in some great emergency, shall be deemed universally most capable of serving the public,” Washington wrote in a much-quoted letter to the Marquis de Lafayette.

Washington stepped down after two terms, establishing a pattern that would stand for more than a century. But he made clear that he was doing so because the young republic was on solid footing, not because his service should be limited in any way.

There is a lot of assumption in these two paragraphs, almost all of it wrong.

First is the assumption that we are in the midst of a “great emergency” that only Obama is “the most capable of serving the public during”.   While things are bad, every electioneer will tell you that “America stands at a crossroads” and “only XXXXXX can save the country”.  But the fact remains that Obama’s administration is marked by lurches from one crisis to another, several of which were of his own making, while he continued to blame his predecessor for these crises as his chosen method of dealing with them.

Second is the idea of service.  While he has occasionally paid lip service to the concept, his actions and other statements make it clear that Obama and his retinue do not believe that they “serve” the American people, but instead “rule” them.  It is this mindset which they govern from, and defend policies injurious to freedom, whether it is the belief  that “sometimes, you’ve just made enough money”, to “you didn’t build that”, to justifying a brazen lie by telling people that insurance they freely chose and contracted for would no longer be available to them, because they we “bad apple” policies, and that young men in their 20s were absolutely better off with a government approved high deductible, high premium policy that ensures availability to contraceptives, maternity care, and mammograms to them.

Finally, the history professor omits some facts.  In Washington’s time, Federally elected office was not the cushy sinecure with insider trading opportunities, incredible perks, and quid pro quos that they enjoy today.   Even when the capitol was in New York City and Philadelphia, serving in office required sacrifices from those who did so.  These sacrifices were financial, in which the office holder often let their own careers atrophy while they served for much lower pay, and they spent a lot of time away from home and their families when communication and travel were both much, much slower than they are today.  While Washington acknowledged that he served a second term because his closest advisors convinced him to do so, he also had no wish to become an American “King”, and had himself spent many years away from his home in the service of his country.  He was tired, both in general, and specifically with regard to the strife that had erupted between those who served with him.  While he did not advocate term limits, he certainly didn’t foresee career politicians becoming so wedded to the office that they would die there after serving multiple terms either.

That’s why the GOP moved to codify it in the Constitution in 1947, when a large Republican majority took over Congress. Ratified by the states in 1951, the 22nd Amendment was an “undisguised slap at the memory of Franklin D. Roosevelt,” wrote Clinton Rossiter, one of the era’s leading political scientists. It also reflected “a shocking lack of faith in the common sense and good judgment of the people,” Rossiter said.

What this fails to recognize is that to pass the 22nd Amendment also relied on the “common sense and good judgment of the people”, unlike a great deal of other changes to the Constitution that were wrought through an overreaching judiciary instead.  And the left still practices this double standard today, as the litigation over Proposition 8 in California demonstrates.  But Rossiter also had the luxury of living in an era when it was easier to pretend that “common sense” and “good judgment of the people” went hand in hand.  We do not.  Common sense dictates that you cannot increase sovereign deficits by Trillions of dollars in short spans of years for very long before you have severely hampered the freedom of future generations.   And passing the point where more people rely on the assistance of the government than their own efforts for their sustenance pretty much guarantees that the “good judgment of the people” will not have anything to do with “common sense” as it creates an incentive to elect others to enrich themselves as they carry out the direction to loot from the present and the future for their constituencies.

He was right. Every Republican in Congress voted for the amendment, while its handful of Democratic supporters were mostly legislators who had broken with FDR and his New Deal. When they succeeded in limiting the presidency to two terms, they limited democracy itself.

He was wrong, because even then, “the people” did not directly elect the President, rendering the notion that an amendment placing term limits on the office as a limitation, ridiculous.  As I have already pointed out, the left only believes in lower case “d” democracy when the plebes vote correctly, as dictated by their leftist betters.

It’s time to put that power back where it belongs. When Ronald Reagan was serving his second term, some Republicans briefly floated the idea of removing term limits so he could run again. The effort went nowhere, but it was right on principle. Barack Obama should be allowed to stand for re-election just as citizens should be allowed to vote for — or against — him. Anything less diminishes our leaders and ourselves.

That “power” was never actually there.  And actually, the notion that we should continue to be able to re-elect the same person because of some notion of their “indispensability” is a great diminishing of ourselves, because it presumes that we as a nation are incapable of producing capable leaders who can govern through persuasion rather than fear, and can unite, rather than divide while preaching about the incivility of their opponents.  I wouldn’t be in favor of it even with Reagan, but at least a third term of Reagan offered the prospect of a President who loved this country, and saw no need to “fundamentally transform” it into something that it was never intended to be.

 

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I had an interesting conversation this week with another businessman who has had enough.

The topic came up when he learned that I am business attorney, and he started to talk to me about the never-ending stream of regulations and taxes, and how he wondered if government didn’t do some of it just to find out how much we would let it get away with.  I smiled, I nodded, and then I told him about my recent odyssey with the Census Bureau.  We both got a laugh out of that, especially when we talked about how long the survey was, and how they just presumed that I would be willing to surrender that time to the government without a peep.  This lead to a discussion about how it doesn’t take very many agencies, bureaus, and offices making “insignificant” demands on you time, and on your earnings before it really starts to add up.  And of course, none of them ever take into consideration that their “insignificant” demands are coming along with all the other “insignificant” demands…not that it would matter, of course, since their demands are important, and must be responded to.

Then he said “I’ll go you one better.  A few years back, I got one of those forms where they wanted me to pretty much inventory EVERY item in my business, then compute the tax and send it to them.”

“Ok…” I said.

“Yeah.  I thought about it for a minute, realized how many HOURS that would take to do, hours that I wouldn’t be using to earn money, and so I looked at the form, and saw that it was a $40.00 fine to not fill out the form and send it back.  I wrote on it “I’m not going to take the HOURS necessary to do this.  Bill me for your fine.”  And I never heard anything more.  They send a new form every couple of years, I answer the same way.  And I’ve never been contacted by anyone looking for their fine.”

We both laughed.  And for a few minutes, I was glad.  It makes me happy to see even small acts of defiance against an out of control government.

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I was introduced to a new song last night.  And it made me very, very happy to know that there are people willing to be the nail that stands up, at a time when so many allow themselves to be intimidated by a tyranny of political correctness, and small-minded thugs who keep finding new ways to take what doesn’t belong to them.

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A friend of mine let loose today with a good rant on Facebook today on the chronic misuse of the word “tolerance” and how the ones who use it most clearly don’t understand it based on their intolerance of those they disagree with.  I’m proud to count her, and others like her, as friends.

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As our President continues to hamfistedly attempt to gaslight the nation about his blatant lies, and as he sets the tone from the top down of a government culture that pays lip service to accountability, yet remains blissfully consequence-free in light of its mendacity and failure, there is a rising anger that will eventually remind our public “servants” that service and employment both come with accountability, and that we will not let those who serve us continue to enjoy good fortune at our expense, and a cushy sinecure that none of us could ever hope to dream of.  The fact that they continue to let this attitude build, while flaunting their disrespect and lack of self-awareness in our faces demonstrates the kind of bad judgement that converts dismay due to lack of respect to a desire to instill fear.  I don’t think it will be pretty, but I do think it will be instructive, and occasionally, “pour l’encourage les autres” has its place.

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The “ACA is rotting on the vine” argument is the wrong one. Not because it isn’t true…it is…but because implementing it means that a government that is supposed to protect religious liberties will instead actively void them (HHS Mandates), because people with chronic health issues will see their health negatively impacted, because the most brutal collection agency in the world will become the enforcement arm of a law that REQUIRES you to purchase a product simply because you live and breathe, because a government that couldn’t abide by confidentiality laws and keep disclosures of confidential taxpayer information from being disclosed to people who had no business knowing it will be granting even wider access to your confidential medical data while pinkie swearing that they won’t ever misuse it or use it against you, they promise (just like the IRS), and because people won’t be able to afford the individual mandate, we will be providing means-test free subsidies, resulting in an even greater redistribution of wealth and resultant dependency on government than we have NOW, and because implementing it makes it commonplace and accepted, even if it is a POS, and that means that government will attempt to “fix” the problem with the only solution it recognizes as legitimate…MORE GOVERNMENT.

The “Accept Defeat Before You Fight” cadre of the GOP showed us all exactly where their priorities are. I’ll skip the obvious questions about what might have happened if other famous Americans had done the same when faced with adversity, and instead say that it was an easy calculus for them to accept when they are insulated from some of the most detrimental aspects of this abortion of liberty courtesy of the American taxpayer.

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A friend of mine posted a link to an article this morning he prefaced with the question “Is sacrificing your religious liberty the price of market participation?”  The article, by Benjamin Wiker, entitled “The Religious-Liberty Quagmire to Come” discusses a recent Slate article sympathetic with the current HHS mandate overreach in which government attempts to abrogate the rights of people to exercise their religious liberty with their property, specifically duly chartered legal business entities.

The article’s author opposes the viewpoints expressed in the Slate article, by author Dalia Lithwick.  I oppose them also, but on grounds originating not just in my studies, but also by practical experience and logic.

The first point raised is this:

Lithwick argues, first of all, that corporations are distinct entities from individuals.

This is true in a literal sense.  Corporations have a legal identity that are separate from their owners in the same way that I have a legal identity that is separate from my oldest son.  You’ll note that I did not use my wife in that example.  It was not an accident.  While she is indeed an entity that is distinct from myself, we happen to live in a community property state, so we “enjoy” the dual status of having distinct legal identities, while legally being considered as having the same legal identity for legal, and more to the point, commercial, purposes.  This reality is imposed upon us by the state, which applies this status based upon an action we took based on a shared religious conviction, and retain based upon that same shared religious conviction.  We are each “owners” of that resultant fictional legal entity known as a “marital community”, which, at least in our case, exists and acts in both personal and commercial transactions in ways that express or are the result of our individual religious beliefs.

While individuals can have religious beliefs, corporations can’t. Once you establish a corporation, it is automatically a secular corporation.

This is what we called in law school a “false starting premise”.  The reason is simple.  The state’s blessing to act as a corporate entity does not automatically confer a “secular” (like the author of the piece, I also object to the common use of the word “secular”, and for the same reasons, however, for the purpose of this essay, I will use it in the context of the incorrectly presumed “neutrality” in which it is often used) status on the resulting entity.  The reason for this is simple.  State enabling statutes almost always permit corporations and limited liability companies to be established “for any lawful purpose”, which by its nature would include the conducting of any lawful business in a manner consistent with the religious faith of the owners of the entity in question.  In fact, thanks to the First Amendment, and its extension to the individual states, the states would be legally prohibited from restricting individuals from forming entities for such purposes.

The other obvious weakness in this rather remarkable assertion from Ms. Lithwick would be the fact that churches often incorporate as non-profit corporations in order to apply for Section 501(c)(3) status so that donations, gifts, and tithes maybe tax deductible to the donor. (Contrary to popular opinion, churches do not have to apply for this status to be tax-free.  They are already tax-free, as they should be, as a result of the First Amendment.)

Wiker states that Lithwick’s assertion is rooted in the decision in the Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. decision.  The corporation is owned by a Mennonite Family which employs 950 people.  The family opposes the HHS mandates regarding abortion on religious grounds.  The Federal Judge hearing the case concluded:

“We simply cannot understand how a for-profit, secular corporation — apart from its owners — can exercise religion,” circuit Judge Robert Cowen wrote. “A holding to the contrary … would eviscerate the fundamental principle that a corporation is a legally distinct entity from its owners.”

Aside from the naked and unsupported (and unsupportable) conclusion that a corporation is secular, there are a few other weaknesses.  State law would rightfully permit me to draft and file for a client Articles of Incorporation or a Certificate of Formation establishing that the entity is “being formed for the express purpose of selling ice cream, and spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, and any other lawful purpose,”, and there is nothing that the state or the Federal government could Constitutionally do to prevent me from doing so. Being a distinct legal entity doesn’t mean that a corporation cannot express or conduct itself based upon a specific political or religious viewpoint.  And while there are instances in which government may lawfully restrict what an owner does with its private property in certain balancing of the equities situations, at this time, I can think of none which directly conflict with the right of conscience.

The assertion of an automatic secular nature of corporations based on a theory of complete segregation between a legal entity and those that own them faces other philosophical and logical difficulties aside from being an assumption of a fact not in evidence.  First among them is the fact that one of the pillars the good Judge rests his opinion on is the notion that that an individual can exercise religious freedom, but a corporation cannot.  This point ignores the fact that corporations ARE allowed to exercise other First Amendment rights, such as freedom of speech, and Freedom of Association, which is the main principle underlying the freedom to enter into contracts with people of your choosing, or the freedom to hire people who you think make a good fit with your corporation, and will make a good employee.  Recognizing this, there is no logical or legal basis to presume that these freedoms can be exercised by a corporation or an LLC, but that those same entities can or should be barred from exercising religious freedom to act in a manner consistent with the religious beliefs of its owner.

The second weakness with this assertion is the fact that the income from many of these “separate, distinct legal entities” is reported not on a separate tax form for that entity, but on the personal tax forms for those who own those entities, which would hardly make sense if these were indeed separate and distinct from their owners.

The third weakness of this viewpoint is that our economy would be in much worse shape without corporations and LLCs because they make it possible for more people to provide goods and services at prices and in quantities that the risk that they would necessarily have to bear individually would either make prohibitively expensive, or practically impossible to provide.  While the very word “corporation” often evokes the image of boardrooms filled with grey suits making decisions that impact the livelihood of hundreds or thousands, or more, the fact is that the majority of corporations are closely-held businesses, where the ownership consists of a individuals, or small numbers of people, often members of the same family, or of one or two families. And in some instances, this is also true of those large corporations that I previously spoke of.  Ford is one example that comes to mind.  However, even if it wasn’t for the fact that a majority of these entities are small, closely held corporations or LLCs that permit individuals to offer products or services because of the risk management that the law permits through the use of these entities, there is also the fact that the law DOES allow certain individuals who offer goods and services through corporations and LLCs to refuse to offer those goods and services based on the individual owner’s right of conscience and/or religious beliefs, among other factors.  Doctors, who can refuse to perform abortions, and attorneys, who can refuse representation based on any factor at all, are two that come to mind.  While competence or having the requisite skill are among the reasons for these rights of refusal, they are not the ONLY ones.  And while it might be tempting to say that the personal nature of services rendered by these professions support such an exemption, the fact is that for nearly all closely-held business entities, the nature of what those individuals do is personal.  For such individuals, their business is at the forefront of their thinking.  It is the first thing they think of in the morning, it is what they contemplate as they drift off to sleep at night.  Their businesses ARE an expression of who they are, and  that “separate legal entity” invariably becomes associated with the individuals who own them.  The manner in which they conduct their business often expresses an opinion or a philosophy held dear to the owner of that business.  It is not reasonable or logical to suggest or expect that these individuals segregate their religious and spiritual identity and activity from the profession or career that they otherwise breathe and eat; to do so would be a denial of the very essence of the person that the law and society would find morally objectionable and repugnant if any other belief or activity was being discussed instead of the free exercise of religion. This is no less true for a baker of wedding cakes, or a photographer than it is for a doctor or a lawyer who has incorporated so they can ply their trade without risking the loss of everything they own and have worked for to one lawsuit.

Another logical weakness in this assertion is that many of these entities often are operated day-to-day in accordance with various codes of ethics voluntarily committed to by the owners and employees of the corporations and LLCs.  For an entity to be, even indirectly, conducted according to such a code of ethics, but presumably not capable of exercising a religious point of view is facially absurd.

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I’d like to think that things will get better, but the current prevailing prejudice against religion in some of the most litigious groups in our society leads me to believe that we’re in for a lengthy fight to preserve our first liberties.  Especially if examples such as the New Mexico photographer, and the pink swastika philosophy that seeks to punish those who do not wish to participate in their activities, regardless of whether not it makes any logical sense to compel those who object with their beliefs to provide a personal service or product is any indication.  But then, with a federal government that is engaging in similar unconstitutional behavior as a guide, there really is no reason to be surprised at the bold entitlement demonstrated in this strategy, which is why legal interest groups such as the ADF are going to become increasingly important and need our help in the coming years.

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