Third Party & Independents Archives

AMENDMENT 28?

Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States relating to contributions and expenditures in-tended to affect elections…..

Money is not free speech, and Corporations are not people. Yet according to the Supreme Court of the United States our fore fathers wrote the constitution that gave money the power of free speech and corporations the rights of personhood.

Several US Senators introduced a proposal to add an amendment to the constitution to reform campaign finance. Here is the wording of the proposed amendment.

What say you? Will it pass the Congress and two thirds of the states? Will it solve the problem of the Citizens United Ruling of 2010 and the Buckley v. Valeo decision of 1976.

Posted by j2t2 at November 1, 2011 9:27 PM
Comments
Comment #331364

It will still be like letting the fox guard the chicken coup.

Workers of the US unite. You have nothing to lose but your chains, since the politicians will have already stolen everything else.

A simpler law would be to let anybody who wants to opt-out NOT be part of any contributions. So a stockholder or union member could designate that no part of his/her dues or investment be used for political purposes. That would make it more difficult for organized power to interfere with the system.

Posted by: C&J at November 1, 2011 10:25 PM
Comment #331365

Poppycock, I guess that’s still a recognized term for a waste of words and others. Sounds like something that a 4th grade class might come up with.
Many of us blog in the middle column daily that the gov’t is part and parcel of the Corpocracy. Why would we expect gov’t/corpocracy to manage campaign finance well?

IMO, the better way REAL CFR can be accomplished is thru the people, thru a 3rd party w/a diff pol att - - -

“CFR needs to be made a private/public arrangement where all donations go from the donor to a single entity, like the IRS, for accounting, bundling and, and transfer, on a rational schedule, to a separate entity, perhaps the FEC or similar, for accounting and disbursement on a rational schedule to qualifying political candidates/incumbents and their supporting parties. Likewise, for state elections.”

Donors are not limited in what they can give.

Donations are bundled into one fund

Audit trail is broken in the process

Parties would submit list of candidates they wish to
support and receive funds based on the number

Through this process the public supports a clean election process, the stronger parties receive more funding.

Agree, its not complete/definitive. Goes along with Republic Sentry’s agenda.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at November 1, 2011 11:06 PM
Comment #331374

I would like to be able to disagree with both of you but I to think it is but a first step. I favor a first step but I’m not sure this resolution can pass through Congress at this time.

The one thing it seems to do is to make regulation of elections constitutional.

Posted by: j2t2 at November 2, 2011 8:47 AM
Comment #331379

Some problems in your thinking …

Money is not free speech

No one says it is. BUT, using money to avail yourself of free speech IS free speech. If you want to tell people something by buying an ad it is free speech, the government cannot tell you you cannot do that by limiting how much money you can spend of your own money. The same if you want to write and publish a book, are we for banning books now as well?

and Corporations are not people

And the Supreme Court, in Citizens United, did not say they were. It stated that indidividuals did not lose their rights to free speech because they did so within a group of other individuals.

Let me ask this question. What problem do you have with the NAACP or ACLU buying ads to try to influence an election? Should they not have that right?

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 2, 2011 10:55 AM
Comment #331380

BTW, the amendment seems a little pointless since the government can already limit how much someone can donate to a candidate… Donating to a candidate is not free speech, buying ads, making documentaries and writing books are, which is what Citizens United was about…

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 2, 2011 10:58 AM
Comment #331403
BUT, using money to avail yourself of free speech IS free speech.

I’m not quite sure the founding fathers would agree with this modern day Objectivism Rhinehold.


If you want to tell people something by buying an ad it is free speech, the government cannot tell you you cannot do that by limiting how much money you can spend of your own money. The same if you want to write and publish a book, are we for banning books now as well?

No one is suggesting banning books here Rhinehold that is the social conservatives means and methods. But then most authors are people not corporations. The use of corporate campaign money to influence the outcome of elections is not what the founding fathers had in mind IMHO.

Posted by: j2t2 at November 2, 2011 9:14 PM
Comment #331415
And the Supreme Court, in Citizens United, did not say they were. It stated that indidividuals did not lose their rights to free speech because they did so within a group of other individuals.

The problem however is this ruling gives the corporations the power to spend huge sums on candidates for elected office. The choice of candidates is based upon the CEO not the shareholders most if not all the time. This gives the CEO 2 voices not one as the rest of us have. This gives us corruption and bribery of our elected officials.

If a person wants to gang up to spread political messages why can’t they do so without the limited liability the corporation offers. Perhaps then we could get less propaganda, less outright lies and more information. Let them accept the personal responsibility of their message.

Let me ask this question. What problem do you have with the NAACP or ACLU buying ads to try to influence an election? Should they not have that right?

These are non profit groups, not for profit corporations Rhinehold. That being said Why should the ACLU try to influence elections? It distracts from their stated goal. When corporations enters politics and diverts their attention from their stated goals it leads to corruption and bribery. Corruption and bribery are not “rights” IMHO.

Posted by: j2t2 at November 3, 2011 9:40 AM
Comment #331423
No one is suggesting banning books here Rhinehold that is the social conservatives means and methods.

Sorry, but you are not paying attention or don’t have the knowledge of the case then. It was asked of this administration if they had the power under McCain-Feingold to ban books, and their response was that they did.

But then most authors are people not corporations.

And most books are published by corporations.

The use of corporate campaign money to influence the outcome of elections is not what the founding fathers had in mind IMHO.

And you get this from where?

The Founding Fathers didn’t want anyone’s opinion or view to be squashed or silenced, no matter who or where or when.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 3, 2011 12:06 PM
Comment #331424
These are non profit groups, not for profit corporations Rhinehold. That being said Why should the ACLU try to influence elections? It distracts from their stated goal.

How do you figure? The ACLU should be able to buy an ad to say “the position of candidate X goes against civil liberties which we are here to protect” should they not?

When corporations enters politics and diverts their attention from their stated goals it leads to corruption and bribery. Corruption and bribery are not “rights” IMHO.

No, speaking your mind is not ‘corruption or bribery’.

If a person wants to gang up to spread political messages why can’t they do so without the limited liability the corporation offers.

Because the limited liability is not the only reason to incorporate AND it is irrelevant.

Are you seriously suggesting that it is the forming of a corporation that is the problem, that you would have no problem with Apple buying a political ad if they were not a corporation? Or would you find that you are still against the company buying ads, that it isn’t really ‘corporations’ that you have a problem with but people with large sums of money…

In the case of Citizens United, we had a group of people that had some money and wanted to make a documentary about Hillary Clinton. They pooled their money together with the sole purpose of making that movie and because it is much easier in this country to do business as a group while incorporated, (you can have an elected official speak for the group, don’t have to have all members sign each and every contract, can continue functioning if one person decides to leave the group without having to sign all new contracts, etc) they are suddenly allowed to be silenced?

This is what you think the founding fathers wanted the government to be able to do?

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 3, 2011 12:12 PM
Comment #331425

http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/08-205.ZS.html

This is the majority decision of Citizens United. Instead of reading what others what you to think of it, read it yourself and tell me which line, which phrase, which argument they make in this decision that you disagree with.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 3, 2011 12:37 PM
Comment #331426
The problem however is this ruling gives the corporations the power to spend huge sums on candidates for elected office.

Actually, no, they have always been able to do that. This ruling only allowed them to do it within 30 days of a federal election. Many states allow this already as well.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 3, 2011 12:39 PM
Comment #331439

Quip from Occupy Wallstreet: “I refuse to believe that corporations are people until Texas executes one.” Everything about ‘corporate personhood’ is farcical, especially at the beginning of CP.

Check out Honest Abe’s thoughts on CP here.

…..I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. As a result of the war, corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed. I feel at this moment more anxiety than ever before, even in the midst of war.
In 1864 Abraham Lincoln wrote this to his friend Col. William Elkins. *

Prior to the Civil War and the Fourteenth Amendment to the U. S. Constitution, corporations were prohibited by their charters from lobbying legislatures or participating in elections in any way. Because of their experience with British corporations our citizens retained a healthy fear of all corporations, hence onerous restrictions such as state charters of limited duration. The large revenues to U.S. corporations occasioned by the Civil War gave corporate America the resources to break out of the old mold including the hiring of private armies to limit union organization and the buying of newspapers to mold public opinion. The precedents rescinding these restrictions on corporations are shaky and could be reversed by the courts. “Corporate free speech” is a good example of such a shaky precedent and very pertinent to this issue.

Corporations are chartered by the states and these charters could (and can) be revoked. The Revolutionary War was fought not only for political independence from Great Britain, but also for independence from the British corporations which controlled trade and extracted wealth from all British colonies.

So the root of this problem dates from the Civil War, prior to which corporate regulation had been performed by the states in which corporations were chartered. Among the restrictions of these charters: corporations were prohibited from lobbying or engaging in political campaigns. The legal concept of “corporate free speech” dates from a Supreme Court decision of 1886 in a tax case, Santa Clara County vs. The Southern Pacific R. R. Before the arguments in the case had started, Supreme Court Justice Morrison Remick Waite stated (let me remind you that The Fourteenth Amendment was added after the Civil War to ensure that all the rights of citizenship would be bestowed on freed slaves):

The court does not wish to hear argument on the question whether the provision of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution, which forbids the state to deny any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws, applies to these corporations. We are all of the opinion that it does.

The opinion, which I have read in its entirety, of the Supreme Court of California in this case did not rely on corporate personhood in deciding Santa Clara County vs. The Southern Pacific R. R.; but the court reporter entered in the summary record:

……The defendant Corporations are persons within the intent of the clause in section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States, which forbids a state to deny any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

The foregoing is the legal precedent for “corporate personhood” and the doctrine of “corporate free speech” equating money with speech. When the state charters governed corporations, lobbying and engaging in political campaigns was prohibited for corporations. A vestige of common sense: corporations have seldom pleaded the Fifth Amendment against self-incrimination. Corporate money in political campaigns cannot be, and should not be, countered by individual campaign contributions. In this unfortunate precedent the U.S. Supreme Court stated in Buckley vs. Valeo 424 US 1 (1976) that money was the equivalent of free speech so that expenditures of money from a political candidate’s own resources or the resources of independent organizations not related to the candidate’s campaign could not be restricted by the laws governing elections. In 1978 the U.S. Supreme Court decided that corporations were entitled to this free speech right to give money to political causes. In a dissenting opinion Chief Justice Rehnquist (after referring to the flawed precedent of Santa Clara vs. The Southern Pacific R.R) said:
“This Court….decided at an early date, with neither argument nor discussion, that a business corporation is a ‘person’ entitled to the protection of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.”

So we have some allies in high places. Here is some more related history. Fear of corporate power was the basis for the draconian measures cited above in the state charters of all U. S. Corporations. These measures remain in corporate charters. After the Civil War railroads quickly became vital for farmers to get their crops to distant markets. The farmers were convinced, in some instances justifiably so, that industry frequently obtained special freight rates compared to the rates the farmers were paying. Compare with modern insurance plans paying much lower drug prices than individual consumers. As a result The Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) was established in 1887, partly to set maximum freight rates. Establishing meaningful freight rate reductions for farmers took nearly ten years, so dissatisfaction simmered. The railroads were also dissatisfied and began to invest in unrelated businesses with many unfortunate losses. An egregious example: in the 1960s the about to go bankrupt Pennsylvania Railroad invested in an airline without the ICC paying attention even though investing in competing transportation industries was illegal. The ICC ceased to exist in 1995 with few tears shed by anyone as other regulators assumed its functions without as much irksome regulation. End excerpt.

Some additional info from the above article: “Field’s complete vision, fortunately, has not yet come to pass. The principle of “liberty of contract,” despite libertarian efforts over the last two decades, has not been brought back in from the cold where the New Deal Court banished it over 70 years ago. Corporations still cannot vote even if they may now spend infinite amounts of money to influence an election. And the Second Amendment, which so far protects only the individual right to keep loaded handguns in the home for self-defense, does not give corporations the right to stockpile weapons in the workplace in case actual “class warfare” breaks out.”

The same article also defines the vestiges of CP before there was CP.

This article covers past, present and future re corporations. The future part is well worth reading, IMO.

Otherwise, we have the Corpocracy we deserve.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at November 3, 2011 5:46 PM
Comment #331476

Roy,

All well and good, but I thought the topic was Citizens United, which had *NOTHING* to do with ‘corporate personhood’.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 4, 2011 10:04 AM
Comment #331477

Ahh Rhinehold it is good to have you back commenting.

Sorry, but you are not paying attention or don’t have the knowledge of the case then. It was asked of this administration if they had the power under McCain-Feingold to ban books, and their response was that they did.

Perhaps they did Rhinehold, but that doesn’t mean I favor banning books. It doesn’t mean the intent of McCain-Feingold was to ban books. Banning books is not the answer to the problem.

The Founding Fathers didn’t want anyone’s opinion or view to be squashed or silenced, no matter who or where or when.

Exactly. The question is would the 28th amendment as written allow those without a megaphone to be heard when those with the megaphone are shouting. But to answer the reply it is my opinion that the founding fathers didn’t favor corporations use of power and money to influence elections. They didn’t even want political parties Rhinehold. I don’t need to remind you of Thomas Jefferson’s quote regarding corporations which I believe reflects many in the country, at the time, opinions. The tea brought into Boston harbor was from the East India Tea company, a corporation using political influence to create a monopoly.

In the case of Citizens United,…. , This is what you think the founding fathers wanted the government to be able to do?

“The Founders were republicans. No, not George Bush or John McCain Republicans; they were philosophical republicans (with a small “r”). This meant they believed that successful representative governments required the subordination of individual personal interests to the welfare of the community. They believed that the political process was all about identifying the common good. It was not about competition and disagreement; politics was a process in which rational voters and officials calmly sorted out what best served the entire community. The end result was not one camp of winners and another of losers, but the entire electorate united behind a common vision.”

http://www.shmoop.com/political-parties/founding-fathers-political-parties.html

Citizens United and other such groups are basically propagandist Rhinehold. They intend to buy the election with half truths misinformation and outright lies. These corporations allow the money men to hide behind them, using these front groups to maintain a position of “grass roots” while in fact they are not. I don’t think this was the intention of the founding fathers. They are akin to shouting fire in a crowded theater in the free speech argument.

That being said Citizens United serve their purpose not the common good. Would I change the decision of Citizens United, I don’t know as it is a fine line between oppression of free speech and free speech. The issue is would the proposed amendment solve the problem.


Posted by: j2t2 at November 4, 2011 11:34 AM
Comment #331480
Ahh Rhinehold it is good to have you back commenting.

Thank you, glad to be back.

Perhaps they did Rhinehold, but that doesn’t mean I favor banning books. It doesn’t mean the intent of McCain-Feingold was to ban books. Banning books is not the answer to the problem.

No one is saying that anyone WANTED to, but it is a power that the government says that are granted, somehow, through the law. Would you say that giving the federal government that power would make that law unconstitutional? Just because today it isn’t being misused doesn’t mean that it wouldn’t in the future. And what is the difference between a book and a documentary exactly? Books we don’t ban but documentaries we can?

The question is would the 28th amendment as written allow those without a megaphone to be heard when those with the megaphone are shouting.

Something they can already do now by allowing them to pool their funds with like minded individuals and be heard against the rich individuals. Like the NAACP and ACLU, both corporations, that do just that.

They didn’t even want political parties Rhinehold.

No, but they understood that they were going to exist, as were other groups of individuals that you call corporations. And as Madison put it well, since we know that they are going to exist, we can’t eliminate their influence without squashing the rights of everyone while doing so.

By a faction, I understand a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or a minority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adversed to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community.

There are two methods of curing the mischiefs of faction: the one, by removing its causes; the other, by controlling its effects.

There are again two methods of removing the causes of faction: the one, by destroying the liberty which is essential to its existence; the other, by giving to every citizen the same opinions, the same passions, and the same interests.

It could never be more truly said than of the first remedy, that it was worse than the disease. Liberty is to faction what air is to fire, an aliment without which it instantly expires. But it could not be less folly to abolish liberty, which is essential to political life, because it nourishes faction, than it would be to wish the annihilation of air, which is essential to animal life, because it imparts to fire its destructive agency.

The second expedient is as impracticable as the first would be unwise. As long as the reason of man continues fallible, and he is at liberty to exercise it, different opinions will be formed. As long as the connection subsists between his reason and his self-love, his opinions and his passions will have a reciprocal influence on each other; and the former will be objects to which the latter will attach themselves. The diversity in the faculties of men, from which the rights of property originate, is not less an insuperable obstacle to a uniformity of interests. The protection of these faculties is the first object of government. From the protection of different and unequal faculties of acquiring property, the possession of different degrees and kinds of property immediately results; and from the influence of these on the sentiments and views of the respective proprietors, ensues a division of the society into different interests and parties.

As Madison is saying here, the only way to ensure that all parties and opinions are heard are to ensure we never try to prevent one frome speaking… precisely what you are suggesting.

This meant they believed that successful representative governments required the subordination of individual personal interests to the welfare of the community. They believed that the political process was all about identifying the common good. It was not about competition and disagreement; politics was a process in which rational voters and officials calmly sorted out what best served the entire community. The end result was not one camp of winners and another of losers, but the entire electorate united behind a common vision.

Wow, this is so out of the realm of reality its hard to say where to start…

Citizens United and other such groups are basically propagandist Rhinehold.

You are describing just about everyone that someone disagrees with here… Let’s use an example. Michael Moore made Farenheit 9/11. Had he tried to put that in the theaters less than 30 days before an election, he would have been prevented to by McCain Feingold. This movie was made, produced and distributed by a corporation… you know, ‘basically propagandists’.

Everyone’s opinion is ‘propaganda’ to those that don’t agree with it, what you want to do is subject everyone. The KKK is definately not someone I agree with, but I defend to my death their right to have their say, as abhorrant as I think it is.

It is easy to defend the rights of those we agree with, the real challenge is if we are willing to defend the rights of those we disagree with. It seems here you are unwilling to do this.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 4, 2011 3:00 PM
Comment #331532
And Madison put it well, since we know that they are going to exist, we can’t eliminate their influence without squashing the rights of everyone while doing so.

Yes Madison said it well “There are two methods of curing the mischiefs of faction: the one, by removing its causes; the other, by controlling its effects.”


Yet the SCOTUS majority decided to give free rein to the corporatist by eliminating the 30 day period prior to the election. The conservative majority support and encourage corruption of our elected representatives Rhinehold it is that simple. They overturned years of previous decisions to do so.

Here is the dissent from the minority of the SCOTUS.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=389x7536905

Posted by: j2t2 at November 5, 2011 9:04 PM
Comment #331553
Yes Madison said it well “There are two methods of curing the mischiefs of faction: the one, by removing its causes; the other, by controlling its effects.”

And that both methods were worse than allowing factions to exist.

Yet the SCOTUS majority decided to give free rein to the corporatist by eliminating the 30 day period prior to the election. The conservative majority support and encourage corruption of our elected representatives Rhinehold it is that simple. They overturned years of previous decisions to do so.

Years of one previous decision that was decidedly WRONG, as they detailed in their decision.

I’ve read the minority opinion, which is flawed in many ways. Yet, you have yet to detail anything that the majority decided that you disagree with.

Please point to the part(s) of their decision that you disagree with.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 6, 2011 1:19 PM
Comment #331659
Years of one previous decision that was decidedly WRONG, as they detailed in their decision.

I guess that is where we differ, the question is will the proposed amendment to the constitution make a difference. I understand you say nothing is broke, why fix it. I understand laws are in effect regarding campaigning. But they are not working. Our representative democracy is being bought. Corruption is considered the norm now.

Posted by: j2t2 at November 8, 2011 8:42 AM
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