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End Big Money’s Chokehold on Democracy. Amend the Constitution


#1

End Big Money’s Chokehold on Democracy. Amend the Constitution.

Robert Weissman

The American political system is facing an existential crisis. Do we aim to be a democracy – meaning a system of rule by the people – or do Americans stand down and permit a very narrow elite class to operate a functioning oligarchy?


#2

Don't just amend the Constitution, rewrite it completely. One of the many problems of the current document is that is has become unwieldy and inaccessible to the man (or woman) in the street. It should be short and succinct and any American of voting age should be able to read and understand it.

Other problems are that it was written for a world that had never heard, or dreamed, of cars, trains, airplanes, telephones, the internet, NASA, corporations, DNA, vaccines, etc, etc. The drafters were well-intentioned, highly intelligent men who did a very good job with what they knew. But it is time to let another group of highly intelligent - and a few women - take a stab at updating the document that defines the country. I suggest we ask the Nobel Prize winners living in the US to give it a go, and then ask the people what they think.


#3

The following bear repeating and work well to counter the paid pundits who insist that the public does not favor progressive issues or that the "Middle Class hates the poor":

"More than half of the top one percent “favor cuts in Medicare, education and highways to reduce budget deficits;” only about a quarter of the rest of the population agree. Eighty-seven percent of the general population agree that “government should spend what is necessary to ensure all children have good public schools;” only 35 percent of the super rich share that sentiment. And while 53 percent of regular people believe that “government should provide jobs to everyone who can’t find one in the private sector,” only eight percent of the super rich agree.

By overwhelming margins, Americans favor raising the minimum wage, reducing wealth and income inequality, stopping any more NAFTA-style trade agreements, breaking up giant banks, investing in infrastructure, taking measures to avert catastrophic climate change, and protecting and expanding Social Security and Medicare."


#4

Noble Prize winners like Kissinger, Obama, and that ilk?

Amendments are better. The consciousness in the USA today after decades of pro-war conditioning, ramping up of racism from authoritarian police departments, and a universal rape culture is hardly one that could serve up any improvement in the arena of human rights.

Guns would become the favored totem and no household would dare go without one.


#5

It's very encouraging to see evidence of growing support for such an amendment. The greater challenge, should it make its way through Congress, will be the ratification process. The right has swamped the state legislatures and ALEC writes the laws. It will take a huge effort to dislodge this formidable roadblock. But let's keep on pushin.' Change for the better won't come through the inertia of the skeptics. Peace.


#6

I'm not sure I would classify Obama and Kissinger as f the same ilk. But yes, them and Jimmy Carter, Al Gore, Jody Williams as Peace Prize winners. But there are also quite a few who have won for medicine, physics, economics and so on. This is not something that can be done by politicians alone.


#7

Or the constitutional amendment route could be a deliberate red herring? This is one of the best pieces of politica writing I've ever come across. Everyone in the USA should know this by heart. No, don't expect me to summarise it in under 30 words, but the message is there are far easier and more certain ways of achieving the desired end of money out of politics:

20 Ways to Cure the Constitutional Amendment Delusion
Five Years of Citizens United
by ROB HAGER
Counterpunch ( I'm not allowed to put links in posts)


#8

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#9

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#10

I got a message that 'newcomers' weren't allowed to post live links. I can see the point in that, but it looks like it's a more general proscription, which is not good. If a site like say Yves Smith's 'Naked Capitalism' can cope with commenter posting links, I don't see why Common Dreams can't. So, CD please try harder before your next whip round (that's UK for a fundraising in case that's obscure)

As to the article I mentioned, I searched for it myself just to test. I copied what I posted here into google and the Counterpunch article was top of the list. Don't know what you're doing wrong.

From what you've written here, you'll like it very much. "A constitutional amendment to define campaign finance rules would be needed, but if it depends on the same bribed congress to pass it, it has little chance of passing. Why do we accept the obvious conflicts of interest and obvious corruption of constitutional intent by the Supreme Court? " That's exactly what it's about, at considerable, all-encompassing, very learned length. EVERYONE here should read that!


#11

The 57% who agree in principle that the rich and priviliged have too much power are also mostly dog whistle racists who think the government gives too much power to "those people who don't deserve it" can not see a common interest with those even worse off than they are," and, to use a popular idiom are happy , "to cut off their nose to spite their face." My experience is that the poorer they are the more ignorant and mean spirited they are. They have no power of critical thought and are ruled by their resentments more than anything else. They are gullible, easily manipilated and authoritarian. You may want to dignify them, call them the Salt of the Earth but I can assure you Sue that they only see you as a patronizing liberal who they hate. The working. class of this country don't want really want democracy, they want authoritarian rule which enforces white privilige. They would like to institute rule by Christian Theocracyof God fearing tyrants who would favor them. In sum , most of them are proud arrogant racists and absolutely impenetrable in their convictions. They are an absolute majority in the sickest part of this country,the South. The best people with progressive sentiments could do is wall them off, let them secede. They are only dragging us down.


#12

Big Money always seems to find ways to circumvent the laws and to make laws in its favor. It is able to do this by buying, coercing or threatening politicians that make the laws, the way our oligarch forefathers intended.

One way to end the political corruption is to end centralized representative government and move to decentralized democratic government. A direct democracy where all the people make their laws, not representatives or politicians. In short, no politicians, no problems.

There is no technical/security reason left to continue depending on obsolete and dangerous representative government and a corrupt electoral system. We can have direct and decentralized electronic democracy.

There is no reason why all the people cannot vote on and make their own laws by using safe encrypted voting technology coupled with major punishment for hacking the vote.

Changing the rules without transferring lawmaking from politicians to the public is rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.


#13

Rewriting the Constitution is a tall order. We can dream of how we think it ought to go but most likely you will find extremely aggressive people trying to get in on it to push their agenda. Its true though that th efounding fathers beleived in occaisionaly rewriting the Constitution. How to go about it truely is tricky. I'm more for incremental change. A computer program can be entirely rewritten one line of code at a time. But definitely, corporations should not be allowed to donate to political campaigns nor should any funds from corporate/bank accounts be used for any form of political advertising. I agree that the best scenario is a public campaign fund.