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Kochs Bankroll Move to Rewrite the Constitution


#1

Kochs Bankroll Move to Rewrite the Constitution

Alex Kotch

A constitutional convention, something thought impossible not long ago, is looking increasingly likely. Under Article V of the U.S. Constitution, if 34 state legislatures “issue a call” for a constitutional convention, Congress must convene one. By some counts, the right-wing only needs six more states. Once called, delegates can propose and vote on changes and new amendments to the U.S. Constitution, which, if approved, are currently required to be ratified by 38 states.


#2

"If America faces the madness of a runaway convention," it will be too late to lay blame. We need to pay attention to the buy-up of state legislators, principally through ALEC, no matter where the money comes from. The failure of the attack on the ACA shows that conservatism isn't enough to ram through measures the American people can see will hurt them. We mustn't be distracted and rest on that success, though. We must help our neighbors see who ALEC is and how much they need a functioning federal government.

Either that, or we can just kick Texas out. Except for Austin. The city of Austin can stay.


#3

Yes, keep Ostentatious!


#4

This is scary stuff and these folks are closer to doing it than they've ever been. That's why the Kochs are spending $400 million on local and congressional races this next election. That's also why if you live in a red state or congressional district like me, you've got to get involved and vote pragmatically this next election. If you are a green voter but your congressional candidate for office appears to have zero chance, vote for the Democratic or Independent candidate who might. Vice versa too. The other side is serious and has a ton of money. They don't care about our Lefty arguments, they care about winning.


#5

With each passing day, you wonder if they even care about democracy and representative government? Do they really want to make things worse for the poor like we see that they are trying to do? Do they really want to make this a country that is sharply divided between the very rich (the few) and the poor (the many). What kind of people are these I wondered?

Then I thought about what kind of people would tolerate and even fight to keep slavery in their country? These weren't ancient Romans but ordinary people (mainly the propertied classes) who were only just a generation or two removed from our own grandparents day! The Nazis sought out a horrific slavery as did Pol Pot but before the Civil War, America tried to be 'normal' while accepting that human beings were forced to labor as slaves. Victorian and Edwardian England boasted of workhouses for the poor and watched as famine consumed the population in Ireland in their time! Also a colonial apartheid slavery existed as well.

My point is that we shouldn't be all that surprised that a few powerful people would willingly subvert our country's democracy. They are so rich that they could conceivably do pretty much anything they wanted but yet even incalculable wealth is not enough. Perhaps it is a mania like a skeletal anorexic who cannot look in a mirror without feeling that they are fat till they literally starve themselves to death voluntarily. Men will pump iron and take steroids until they can barely function normally and suffer the steroidal side effects. Call it an obsession? A mania? Whatever it is, there is a mental disease whereby human beings cannot stop what they are doing. They just can't seem to say enough.

The wealthy of this country could very well want the power that their wealth seems to afford them. Sheer power not only that which is suggested by influence. Actual direct control power! Rulers in actual fact, a class of people who would wield undue power that other citizens would not. Concrete power as determined simply by wealth.

Once this country had something similar to that in the south where they the propertied and moneyed classes owned human beings as slave laborers. Seems they, the 'owners', wore beautiful clothes and lived in palatial houses and huge plantations. My guess is that for most of the slave owners that such a life of extreme privilege... wasn't so hard in the long run. They liked it even to the point of fighting to keep other people as slaves.

We wouldn't see outright slavery nowadays (although with this current crop of Republicans, one wonders). Maybe chain gangs again and penal labor? No, in the main we would see what in the modern world what would be called wage slavery. That is where a working person's salary is barely enough to pay their way in the world. Almost enough to buy clothes and buy enough food and pay the rent etc. just barely enough of a minimum wage sufficient to pay all the bills. Let's call it Two Job Wage Slavery where a person needs two minimum wage jobs to cover their bills at the minimum plus no benefits!

Let's hear the battle cry of the wealthy Republican to the working poor! "Don't get sick!"

Hoorah!


#6

Well, actually, they mostly swept up those without the resources to own slaves to be mown down for them. Check the history. It was a huge disappointment to the slave-owner officer class that they got dirty and sick and wounded and killed themselves.

And we do already see penal slavery. One of the federal projects none of the powerful want to do away with is the promotion of essential slavery in prisons. It's promoted as bringing jobs back to the US at wages even lower than those paid overseas. Call centers, manufacturing, ... I can't find the references just now, but look for stuff about the recent prison strike.

I was appalled, watching (yes, selected clips, but ...) the debate on the House floor on the AHCA, just before it was given up. One after another, Republican members talked about conservatism and power; Democrats talked about human impact. No, neither of them is perfect, but there are emphases and tendencies, and the purpose was borne out by what I could read of the bill itself. Recall Ryan's smirk about "a unified government"; what he meant was consolidated power to promote our ideology, regardless of the policy consequences. It is willfully ignorant, perhaps to the point of insanity. I'm just grateful that people stood up enough to be heard. ... So far.


#7

The GOP views blocking this month's ACA attack as a minor setback. They are confident that Gorsuch will be confirmed, pushing the SCOTUS further rightward and enabling the GOP to attack the ACA and much more through the SCOTUS...much more effective than legislating in the halls of Congress..

Whatever effort activists put into fighting the ACA attack needs to be at least doubled in the fight against Gorsuch. The outcome of the Gorsuch confirmation is of greater consequence than all of the issues Congress will address in 2017 COMBINED.


#8

This is a scary subject. I'm pretty sure if they actually try to do this they will be met with an angry group of people. We're trying to handle the problems in government in a civilized manner but they need to know this country is on the verge of all out revolution. A move like this could be the catalyst.
The hubris of these republican thieves is massive but the anger growing in this country will help adjust their arrogance once they go too far. It will be too late for talking by then.
We are facing extinction, do they really think with so little left to lose they can waltz in and take over? They need to look at all the winning Trump is getting. We won't be silent.


#9

I agree with you that this just may be the catalyst that causes a real revolution. However, I don't agree it is a Republican thing. This is an out and out move by those who are in control of the government of the US and it isn't Republicans or Democrats. It is obviously the oligarchs like the Kochs and that move would appear to be a big part of their End Game.


#10

I think Americans are not capable of 'revolution' but I most certainly do think we are capable of organized rebellion. I think we are capable of not being quiet and complacent! Of not being respectful of governmental authority but obedient to local authority whether that of a gun toting pseudo militia in the Northwest or a gun packing one in the Deep South. I think we are a divided nation poised on the brink of disrespect for authority on a huge scale because we are not stupid nor ignorant and we sorely hate being cheated and abused.

I think one too many billionaires and robber baron CEOS being appointed to head departments and agencies smells real bad to those forced to trust in these agency heads. I think that common sense people no longer dismiss 70F degree days in January and February in the Northeast. I think sane intelligent people no longer can dismiss scorching droughts that send killer wildfires across the landscape in summer and killer flash floods that send mudslides down the slopes of residential neighborhoods in winter.

I think people in America don't want nor believe in revolution per se. It is a term that speaks of organization and structure, of a leadership and people in charge to negotiate with etc.

I think Americans want something else because all the leaders and politicians they want get sidelined and pushed out of the picture in favor of party hacks and no term limits ghouls whom you can't get rid of that gain immense but unrepresentative power.

I think Americans want their democracy back! A democracy that they can truthfully believe in that reflects the majority opinion and not a con game that promises one thing but delivers instead a special interest windfall to the wealthiest.

I think Americans want to believe in America again!

I think...

...therefore I am.


#11

Indeed. When I look at these two decrepit, greedy, selfish in the extreme old fossilized men I can't help wonder: Do they think that their billions will magically insulate them from death? Have they given a thought at all about this end we all share?


#12

The attack on the ACA was not defeated by the American people, it was defeated by the Freedom Caucus, the Tea Party wing of the Republican Party. In an attempt to pass the bill Ryan made it worse and worse, pushing amendments that would have hurt more, not less, but the Tea Party and the Kochs et al would have none of that. It was straight repeal or nothing. Note that these are the same people who want to rewrite the Constitution to eliminate an effective federal government.


#13

That's not true. Much of the press focused on the Freedom Caucus--great men of principles right?--but there were many "no" votes coming from less hardline folks, approximately 40 between the solid "nos" and lean "nos". There were multiple decline-to-state congressional votes as well, estimated to be around 50. Best estimates were there were around 50 public "yes" votes for the bill. Frankly, that's not a vote you'd take to the floor.


#14

Here's what I promised before about prison slavery:

Mother Jones published this article, http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/10/prison-labor-strike-history-heather-ann-thompson, which has lots of links to further information. The shocker to me was this bit:

In 1979, Congress created a program that gives incentives to private companies to use prison labor. Currently, the federal prison industries program produces items ranging from mattresses to prescription eyewear. Some inmates are employed as call center operators ("It's the best kept secret in outsourcing!" says the program's website.) Last year, federal inmates helped bring in nearly $472 million in net sales—but only 5 percent of that revenue went to pay inmates.

The Web site quoted about call centers is a page of https://www.unicor.gov/index.aspx. Yes, a commercial operation of the Dept. of Justice, and just as icky as that one bit. They make a big deal of “onshoring” manufacturing that might be taken outside the US, of course the only other way to get cheap labor (The MJ story quotes 12 to 40 cents an hour and farm labor in Nevada at 8 cents a day.) The link to the “program” created by Congress goes to a page of http://www.nationalcia.org, the trade association of companies benefiting from this slave labor force.


#15

In addition to what @KC2669 said, you make my point. The "Freedom" caucus was not enough to get this wretched business done. Conservatism could not stand up to the people.


#16

Congress will not let a convention happen.

How do they stop it?

When the call for a convention is only a few states away for a specific amendment, they pass the amendment. Then only that amendment goes to the states and there is no convention.

This has happened before I understand.


#17

This is the point which most Americans cannot understand and seem unwilling to accept (cognicent dissonance). In addition Americans are slowly, and at an ever increasing rate, being ground down by wage slavery. Extreme wealth has all but taken power and is in control of our government. It is getting ever closer to the fact that revolution is going to be the only solution to salvation and freedom from the oligarchs.


#18

......... I think we are a divided nation poised on the brink of disrespect for authority on a huge scale because we are not stupid nor ignorant and we sorely hate being cheated and abused."
This might be the most logical thought process aside from outright revolution. However, rebellion can easily ignite into revolution, as history proves time and again.


#19

As I understand it, very few of the requests from the states are about the same issues. And, as the article observes, some of them are decades old.


#20

I'm with you Jeanne. If the Koch brothers want their own country and Constitution, I think those of us who prefer sanity and Democracy, take up a collection or start a Go Fund Me campaign, and use the money we collect to buy a little remote island out in the ocean somewhere.

The next part will be a little tricky, but we would need to hire a couple dozen paramilitary soldiers of fortune to secretly abduct the Koch boys, fly them to their island, and drop them on it.

Perhaps we could persuade Trump to join them.

Saving the United States from a rebellion/revolution we could call the action, in the best interests of National Security.