28th Amendment

The Wolf-PAC Resolution does not contain specific amendment language because we truly want to hear all sides and solutions at the amendments convention.  We think the amendment should contain these core values: 

"Corporations are not people. They have none of the Constitutional rights of human beings. Corporations are not allowed to give money to any politician, directly or indirectly. No politician can raise over $100 from any person or entity. All elections must be publicly financed."

*Note: The finished legislation will be worded differently and have to account for inflation, etc. This is simply to point legislators in the right direction and make sure the final amendment accomplishes the goals we have outlined here.



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commented 2014-02-19 19:14:40 -0500 · Flag
Corporations are machines. Watch Cenk talk about it here:

They are machines that have limited rights (and liability) granted to them by state charter, not inalienable rights endowed by their creator.

Nice try though. Thanks for playing. In honor of your dropping f-bombs on our public website, we’re bringing the ban-hammer in 3…2… 1… buh-bye.

PS. Here’s the rules of engagement here: http://www.wolf-pac.com/rules
commented 2014-02-19 18:46:58 -0500 · Flag
@david: I’m worried more by corrupt government than I am corrupt corporations because the government can make said corruption legal. Nothing in any of these proposals will have any effect on small mom-and pop operations; that’s a red herring and you know that. None of this gives the government any more rights either, so that’s another red herring. Nice try, though.
commented 2014-02-19 18:12:30 -0500 · Flag
@william: I agree that corporatism and crony capitalism are insanely rampant and need to be put down, but I’m worried more by big government than I am big corporations. (since the whole reason big corps by off our politicians is because the government is big enough to give them what they want) If a corporation has no rights, then you can do whatever you want to it. Giving our government the right to do whatever they want to a corporation (or union, or whatever) feels like a slippery slope at best.

@ryan: Nice rhetoric. Too bad it’s a bunch of fear-mongering that makes no sense at all.

You describe corporations like they’re robots or zombies, built to do what they’re programmed to do and no more, but corporations are both made and run by people. On top of that, not all corporations are gigantic megacorps that could spend millions like I spend a twenty. Plenty are small and as hard-pressed by the bad economy as the rest of us. Corporations exist to pool resources together and accomplish what none of the individual members can do alone.

The corporation doesn’t have natural rights but the people in that corporation do. And the wording here is that they don’t, once their property becomes part of the corporation. This is as absurd as saying that people who commit crimes on taxpayer dime are not responsible because it was taxpayer dime. If a building is owned by a corporation, it can’t be siezed, since the corp has the right to property. When it doesn’t, however, there’s no property rights to be violated, so it can simply be seized.

Your view, Ryan, appears to be that that is A-FUCKING-OKAY because hey, it’s not like corporations are /people/, right? Go ahead, take everything they own because you want to.
commented 2014-02-19 17:53:02 -0500 · Flag
@william Falberg: I’m worried that one constitutionally illegal backroom deal going unnoticed or a government official with a stake in a particular corporation (like stocks) or any other poor excuse to affect the economy with governmental force, as David Burton described, will ruin our economy moreso than it is. I hope that clears things up.

@ryan Clayton: I want money out of politics but I also want politics out of the money. They are separate issues and I think should be proposed separately. Until then, I don’t even feel right donating to such a cause. With those first two sentences, this will just close one problem only to open another.
commented 2014-02-19 17:44:40 -0500 · Flag
@ David: Corps should by all means have property priveleges, but as it works under this Corpocracy, corporations also have the means to confiscate YOUR property by exercising eminent domain through their cronies in government. Corporate interference in electoral politics is probably the least threatening aspect of our Corpocracy but its advocates do their best to keep the focus on that, don’t you.
commented 2014-02-19 17:36:15 -0500 · Flag
@george & @david

Ask yourself this: do artificial entities, such as corporations, have inalienable rights? How about the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” as is stated in the Declaration of Independence? How could you declare bankruptcy and close down businesses permanently then (violating their “right to life”)? If corporations are people under the law, how can they be owned, as that would be in violation of the 13th Amendment (prohibiting ownership of people under the law)?

Free speech is a constitutional right, but more importantly, it is a fundamental human right. The Constitution does not give you and me inalienable rights – it prevents our U.S. government from infringing upon the rights that we already possess, as they are written in our Constitution. As a person, you have a right to freedom of speech, which our Constitution protects, not grants, as a citizen.

Corporations are property, not citizens. Money is property, not speech. Citizens have inalienable free speech rights, private property rights, and voting rights. Property has none of these.

Additionally, some forms of speech are prohibited by law and should be, such as blackmail, slander, and “that which encourages imminent lawless action”. Bribing our politicians and seeking inappropriate influence in our political affairs, whether through direct contributions or indirect electoral expenditures, should be prohibited by law. To argue that they should have this ability is the political equivalent of a drug dealer arguing he has the “right” to sell crack cocaine as a form of free speech – both arguments are equally absurd but one is more dangerous (hint: it’s actually not the crack).

The only way to protect our rights from the illegitimate influence of the wealthiest interests that the world has ever known is to erect a wall of separation between wealth and state, removing private money from public elections, and guaranteeing free and fair elections once again in America. The only way to do that while we live under the most crooked Supreme Court in the history of our country is to write a 28th Amendment into the U.S. Constitution, enshrining every American citizen’s right to self-determination in stone for us as well as for future generations.

Currently, there is a cult of jurisprudence that wants to equip these artificially created entities with the natural rights we possess as human beings, resulting in these Frankenstein entities trolling around in our polity like they’re living human beings and taking a wrecking ball to the very foundations of our democracy. Those people are wrong. To claim that artificially created entities possess fundamental human rights is a perversion of the Constitution, the law, and the natural rights that they are both designed to protect.

PS. Are you guys signed up to volunteer? http://www.wolf-pac.com/volunteer Taking action in RL beats online debate every day of the week!
commented 2014-02-19 17:30:36 -0500 · Flag
George: are you worried about the government having power, or the Constitution having power. I think the whole idea here is to constitutionally limit the power of both government AND corporations. I propose keeping them separated and the constitution is proper legal instrument to do that. They obviusly corrupt each other whenever they get together. I say we make such conflicts of interest a federal crime and enforce the separation of business and State as or more rigorously than the separation of Church and State. The constitution should serve as a restraining order for every corporate entity to keep a safe distance from any legislative or governmental agency.
commented 2014-02-19 17:20:41 -0500 · Flag
@george: The idea that corporations have none of the constitutional rights of human beings is a BIT worrying, since it would also mean they have no property rights. It would give the government the right to seize anything held by a corporation or to do anything they want to a corporation, which means there’s no reason at all to START a corporation. And judging from the fact that people keep making the things, they’re more helpful to the consumer and citizen than harmful.

Something like ‘No entity other than a human being may give money to a campaign and that amount may not exceed X’, maybe? Kicks out corporations, unions and special interests all in one stroke.
commented 2014-02-19 17:11:31 -0500 · Flag
Is it just me, or is anyone else worried about the first two sentences? I think this amendment, specifically the first two sentences, gives too much power to government officials to control corporations as they see fit, even in ways that have nothing to do with corporations trying to control government.

We could do without the first two sentences.
commented 2014-02-11 18:40:03 -0500 · Flag
What might be an interesting point to make here is that campaign financing should be looked upon in a similar fashion as the right to vote.

For instance, it doesn’t violate my right to free speech to only be able to vote for an elected official once in a term. The distinction here is that when someone (or a corporation) funds a politicians political campaign to a disproportionate degree, that’s like one interest getting to vote many times over.
commented 2014-02-11 00:00:05 -0500 · Flag
There should also be some clarification regarding personally funded campaigns, or limits one can invest in themselves. Failure to address this specifically could be problematic.

Also I didn’t see the note at the bottom, so I’m glad to know you plan to account for inflation.
commented 2014-02-10 21:15:16 -0500 · Flag
The $100 limit might be problematic due to inflation. This could also lead to congress amending this amendment to account for inflation, and they may then try to make the limit disproportionately high or amend this altogether.
followed this page 2014-01-24 19:34:12 -0500
commented 2013-12-31 14:41:30 -0500 · Flag
Can someone clarify for me “indirectly”? Does this include donations to Super PACs? How do we classify what organization to be a Super PAC?
commented 2013-12-05 12:09:18 -0500 · Flag
The persons on this thread made the need to modify my version of what an amendment should and must look like. All contributors must physically reside in the election district. The limit for contributions must be low enough to make everyone feel like they can influence every campaign on their ballot in their home voting precinct. Our participation must have some influence or we will not bother to participate, which means that money and power will continue to corrupt our “representative” political system. Many thanks to the people on this thread.
commented 2013-12-05 11:48:30 -0500 · Flag
The convention is the first goal, but we need the best language in the amendemnt that will provide equal political speech to all of our citizens.
Latest update on my input on the language needed:
The cs2 28th difference: Natural persons who are eligible to vote shall have exclusive rights to support political campaigns with contributions and expenditures. Legal entities and natural persons that are not eligible to vote shall have no rights to make campaign contributions or expenditures to influence elections or to support political campaigns of any kind. Only natural persons who are eligible to vote and who physically reside within an electoral district can influence an election in that district under the “Equal Political Speech” amendment. [Section 3 (Section 2 Edit) links]
http://cs2pr.us/28th_Amendment.html#Three .
All money must come from voters who physically reside in the district where the election is held. Please read sections 2 and 3.
commented 2013-12-02 05:12:11 -0500 · Flag
@robert “Our goal right now though, is to get that convention convened;”
Agreed. Absolutely. But, does it hurt to narrow that debate to only those proposals that have a reasonable chance of getting passed. I think newcomers to the whole concept might want to know what sort of lunatic amendments such a convention might entertain . A little foreshadowing, if you will.
commented 2013-12-02 02:29:41 -0500 · Flag
Let’s not lose sight of our ultimate goal, which is to get enough state legislatures to call for an “Article 5” constitutional convention to pass a 28th amendment declaring that corporations and other such legal constructs do not enjoy the same inalienable rights as natural persons, and that money does not equal speech with regard to 1st amendment protections.

The actual language of the amendment would presumably be hammered out in THAT venue, no doubt amid heated debate. Our goal right now though, is to get that convention convened; there will be plenty of opportunity to get bogged down in the minutiae of the specific language THEN.
commented 2013-11-30 09:09:05 -0500 · Flag
“There’s no real way to stop media outlets from being influenced by money ……… ?”
There certainly is: if their charter forbade any financial considerations to be considered in their editorial policy or news coverage it would make the media outlet’s officers liable for "violation of a corporate charter "and regardless of any other excuses, the monetization of public information would be a punishable crime; according to the terms set forth in my “Corporate Firewall Amendment”:
(forget that last post,; I was capitulating to Naveen so we could get back to serious considerations – at the least, can we all agree that augmenting the First Amendment with absurd new provisions would be unproductive at best) I digress; My Amendment:
28th Amendment (aka Corporate Firewall Amendment)
Corporations are not persons and shall be granted only those rights and privileges that Congress deems necessary for the well-being of the People. Congress shall provide legislation defining the terms and conditions of corporate charters according to their purpose; which shall include, but are not limited to:
1, prohibitions against any corporation;
a, owning another corporation,
b, becoming economically indispensable or monopolistic, or
c, otherwise distorting the general economy;
2, prohibitions against any form of intervention in the affairs of government by means of;
a, congressional lobbying
b, electoral sponsorship or advocacy
c, educational sponsorship or publication
d, media news reporting
3, provisions for;
a, the auditing of standardized, current, and transparent account books
b, closing the FRB and the establishment of state-owned banks
c, civil and criminal penalties to be suffered by corporate executives et al for violation of the terms of a corporate charter.

Optional: (or possible 29th amendment)
The 16th Amendment to the United States Constitution is hereby repealed and Congress shall re-write the U.S. Code to reflect the changes embodied herein.
(While we’re at it, we could also repeal the 17th amendment)

Direct link:
commented 2013-11-29 21:56:55 -0500 · Flag
@paul: There’s no real way to stop media outlets from being influenced by money without either ending money or preventing them from making money, which would either drive them out of business or make them part of the government.

I said there was ‘no real problem’ in large part because of the Internet. TV, Newspapers, and radio used to be the sole singular means by which people got their news and information. Lots of people still use these, but most at least have some presence online with which to get info (even if it’s only on forums that agree with their own political bias). Even if a lobbyist had the kind of money needed to buy off every news station in America there’s no way anyone wouldn’t notice (can you honestly picture, say, Fox News suddenly announcing ‘Support this pro-choice and pro-gun control candidate’ and nobody raising an eyebrow?) and most voters can still get info on their candidates online that’s less clouded by media bias.

@william: ……………………. um…

Not that I disagree with the 16th amendment repeal, but a) that’s not what this amendment sets out to do (the best chance for this thing is to stay focused on one issue, so that it doesn’t get muddied up with the politics of any other issue) b) that first part about every citizen having the right to filibuster is so open to abuse I’m honestly not sure where to begin ._.
commented 2013-11-29 21:16:30 -0500 · Flag
28h Amendment;
Every citizen, regardless of race, gender, or educational level shall have the right to filibuster any legislative body or public forum without limitation on any subject until said body either approves the matter in question or dissolves itself for lack of further interest.
AND; the 16th Amendment is hereby repealed.
commented 2013-11-21 16:42:55 -0500 · Flag
Dear Paul,

It’s one and the same thing. Any amendment naturally supersedes everything that came before it, so forms a natural amendment to any other amendment (or any other part of the constitution) when passed.

The correct way to do a convention is in questionnaire form – where EVERY single non-splittable part of every single proposed measure is included in the list, without any exceptions (including, for example, each individual measure of the equal voice clause, and every single other proposed measure – e.g. by Rich Stevenson, David Burton, yourself and so on). This way, it can satisfy the true spirit of the constitutional amendment process – since nothing is arbitrarily (and hence unreasonably) blocked off. It would take not long at all to complete such a questionnaire, no matter how many pages long it might be – and even if it took hours (which it wouldn’t), it would not be too long to secure the future of a nation and possibly far beyond.

Voting on each proposed measure separately, of course, should be part of the regular legislative process too (I have proposed this very measure for the constitution itself earlier on these comments), since mixing 2 or more separable measures in any legislative vote is itself a form of corruption.
commented 2013-11-20 21:43:20 -0500 · Flag
David, I copied something you said:
“The big problem right now is that lobbyists can make decadent amounts of money if they get politicians to push their legislation forward, there’s no real problem with lobbyists buying off the news media to get their points across indirectly. "

Unless I’ve misunderstood you, I respectfully disagree, especially with the second sentence. Anyone using their money to influence the media goes to the very heart of the problem.

David & Naveen,
David, it strikes me as well that Naveen may be trying to strengthen the 1st amendment based on his perception, with which I agree, that the first amendment as it stands has not prevented money from influencing the media and campaigns directly to the extent that our first amendment rights to free speech are ineffectual, and he feels, as do I, that it must. The right to free speech may exist, but unless an individual possesses sufficient wealth to buy a voice in the process, the only voice every registered voter in fact actually has is the right to vote. The right and ability to vote does not constitute free speech.

Naveen, have you thought of drafting your proposal as an amendment to the first amendment instead of as a new (28th) amendment?
commented 2013-11-20 17:16:45 -0500 · Flag
David – it’s a problem for today, not another day.

This is all about the scope of error for the society. In order for the people to be able to best judge which actions are necessary, all ideas must be given equal footing exactly like how in any 100m race all runners must start at the starting line otherwise it is difficult to see who the fastest runner is.

As such, the prevailing ideas, especially those which decide the laws of a nation, must be those which have arrived there purely on the merit of the argument itself, in every case without exception, not by being heard more widely simply because of the will of the very few.

Even if the first amendment intended this, it was never sufficient to make it happen.
commented 2013-11-20 11:34:48 -0500 · Flag
That was directed at Naveen, i should add.
commented 2013-11-20 11:20:55 -0500 · Flag
We have an equal speech clause. It’s called the first amendment.

Your proposal – as I understand it – is to stretch this amendment’s power to cover something already covered for the purpose of changing the meaning of ‘freedom of the press’, which is a risky venture that creates a riskier precedent at best.

This amendment is supposed to stop rich corporations/unions/individuals- let’s just call ‘em ’lobbyists’ for brevity’s sake – from buying off our politicians directly. Sure, lobbyists could still buy off the news media, but they would have little reason to promote one candidate over another unless they agreed with their ideals, voting record and policies. In which case it’s STILL about their ideas and policies, and not about the money. The big problem right now is that lobbyists can make decadent amounts of money if they get politicians to push their legislation forward, there’s no real problem with lobbyists buying off the news media to get their points across indirectly.

Even if you’re right and it proves to be a corrupting influence, it’s a problem for another day.
commented 2013-11-20 04:06:19 -0500 · Flag
Speaking of censorship, WolfPAC has barred me 3 times from commenting on this site, whereupon I had to change my email address each time, even though I 100% support (perhaps too genuinely and too much for their liking) their stated cause of getting money influence out of politics and have only proposed the necessary measures to achieve exactly that goal.

Of course, this is hardly the behavior of a democratic movement or even one that truly cares about getting money influence out of politics. So I presume that this is by an employee that does not represent the movement, and hope somebody higher up at Wolf-PAC can stop the barring and allow the substantive engagement which it claims to be trying to defend.

So, just to let you know, this might be my last post on this site, or until I can no longer or get tired of thinking of new email address names for my name, or just use a new first & last name altogether.

William – purchasing power to control media content is a form of censorship. There would be no legal principle under which a jury could rule against this because it’s perfectly legal, even under your proposal (even if it didn’t only apply to corporations which is easily circumventable by corporations simply de-incorporating and controlling their wealth in a regular way but still carrying out the same undue influence). There would have to be an outlandish stretch of interpretation to make this possible, and even then a judge could instruct the jury not to make this interpretation.

The equal voice clause is a rock-solid, understandable and necessary principle in this regard, which therefore must be enshrined in law otherwise it would, for all intents and purposes, from a legal standpoint, be ignored and even ruled against, thereby preserving the purchasing-power influence over the laws, which should only be decided purely by strength of argument. So do you see how the equal voice clause is absolutely necessary, when all of the possible outcome paths are considered?
commented 2013-11-19 09:51:25 -0500 · Flag
As it stands today, there’s nothing to stop a journalist from writing an article or book and having it published on the mass media. The only governmental function that might apply to this system would be deliberate censorship of alternative viewpoints by media monopolies that would be in violation of the second paragraph of my amendment which forbids such patterns of abuse with this simple statement: 2, prohibitions against any form of intervention in the affairs of government by means of; (among other things): c, educational sponsorship or publication. So, we don’t need more lotteries; we just need to prosecute a few publishers for intervention-by-ommission for showing a deliberate pattern of abuse in its editorial policy. Once again, such patterns would be decided by juries (selected by lottery, if you will)and based on a preponderance of circumstantial evidence.
commented 2013-11-19 09:51:24 -0500 · Flag
As it stands today, there’s nothing to stop a journalist from writing an article or book and having it published on the mass media. The only governmental function that might apply to this system would be deliberate censorship of alternative viewpoints by media monopolies that would be in violation of the second paragraph of my amendment which forbids such patterns of abuse with this simple statement: 2, prohibitions against any form of intervention in the affairs of government by means of; (among other things): c, educational sponsorship or publication. So, we don’t need more lotteries; we just need to prosecute a few publishers for intervention-by-ommission for showing a deliberate pattern of abuse in its editorial policy. Once again, such patterns would be decided by juries (selected by lottery, if you will)and based on a preponderance of circumstantial evidence.
commented 2013-11-19 03:48:41 -0500 · Flag
(cont.) Amended again -

28th Amendment. Resolution -

The equal opportunity for all ideas to be tested in debate being necessary to maximize the undertaking of the necessary actions, every individual shall have, by right at any time regardless of his or her means of purchase, the equal opportunity to have his or her opinions heard, read or seen within the United States. Each individual or group which can be shown to have the means to address more than a thousand individuals in total must have all political commentators who may use such means of address verifiably chosen by pure lottery to which everyone, without exception, has had the full opportunity to apply. This shall henceforth be construed to be the meaning of “the freedom of the press” within this Constitution and all Laws of the United States passed in pursuance thereof.
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