commented on 28th Amendment 2014-05-28 03:37:52 -0400 · Flag
William Falberg, you make many good points in your last post. We have much reason for frustration at the corrupt two-party system and the power they are unlikely to give back to the people without a monumental effort. We can’t force them. We can persuade them that we will fire them if they do not solve our corruption caused problems. A huge task! Impossible? I hope not. If more than half the people took the pledge or elected people to replace D’sand R’s in a substantial amount, incumbents would have to see the writing on the wall. No choice but change must be their perception. The pledge: http://cs2pr.us/Voter_Pledge.html#99% , like shown below.

The constitution does not mention corporations, but the Pacific Railway case and case law since 1886 [sic] protects their rights (corporate personhood) consistently. Speech was equated with money in Buckley v Valeo in 1972 [sic] and has been supported with case law ever since. A lot of precedents have supported these problems for a very long time. That is a huge problem. We need an amendment to override the precedents in case law.

Both parties need to be treated like the self-serving entities they are. I am not sure they are incorporated as such. I just don’t know. They are their own self-serving self interests who support one another consistently. They are a 100% monopoly of our political system, a dictatorship in many ways, because they are a monopply.

Generating a consensus, like you state, is the problem, isn’t it? Yes, it is.
Frankly, it seems to me the Free Tools shown below may contain the means. http://cs2pr.us/FreeTools.html#Free . We need to create our own political system on our computer desktops to replace the bipartisan two-party system or to at least take their public office majority away from their career incumbents. Fire enough of them to persuade them to adopt the necessary changes to guarantee a more representive democratic republic.

The free tools are way out of the box and hard to wrap your arms around unless studied in a profound way. The tools are near completion. Final edits are underway. Very hard work. A completion date cannot be stated with certainty. I’ve been working on the projects for sixteen solid years.
It seems to me the tools may be the means to taking our country back for the common good.
commented on 28th Amendment 2014-05-27 13:29:05 -0400 · Flag
@rich
Thank you for clarifying that. I never envisioned my proposed CA being presented to the U S Congress, nor to any State legislatures, for that matter, so House rules won’t ever apply in any case. I wish I had saved an article I once read outlining a procedure whereby a certain majority of citizens could force state legislatures to present the US Congress with a proposed amendment, but my question at the time was: “Exactly what authority does a body of citizens need to be considered a Constitutional Convention?” Is there a minimum number, or percentage? (IIRC, there was.) If that’s true, you must be drawing some encouragement from the recent trend toward states-rights activism and the push-back being offered by state attorneys general in regard to the flood of federal usurpations of states’ rights in the past 6 years. I think Americans are beginning to see the inherent danger posed by all forms of over-centralized concentrations of power; both political and financial.
Nowhere does the Constitution mention corporations; but it does clearly refer to “the Press” as being vital to the function of a democratic republic. In that context I’d like you to reconsider your phrase about freedom of the Press. Let’s define “the Press” as it exists today and “The Press” as it existed in 1787 . The "press’ in those days was comprised of hundreds of local/ main street entrepreneurs with their own ideas about how the country should be run, and by whom. Collectively, I suppose, they represented the voice of the average American and criticized the political establishment accordingly. Politicians who ignored “the Press” probably didn’t last very long in office.
Today, however, “the Press” is comprised of a few and ever diminishing number of traditional print newspapers, big-city TV stations, and cable companies. They’re all corporations; they’re all profit -driven. They’re immensely powerful because they have a monopoly on what news and information gets distributed to the People. They control how Americans spend their money and who they vote for. While ya’ll go on about campaign financing you should ask yourselves how much it cost to get a whole staff of cable news anchors and contributors to endorse the candidacy of a fellow neo-feudal aritsocrat for an entire electoral cycle 24/7; year in and year out. When you think about the Press as a tool of said neo-feudal government, the last thing you want is for them to have “untouchable” status under the Constitution. Maybe we could substitute “free investigative journalists” or “free scholastic publication’’ or ’free political reporting” to separate the constitutionally vital human journalists from the politically ambitious, monopolistic, and manipulative corporate executives behind them with the carrot and the stick.
Here’s the Big Dilema we now face and must correct with a draconian CA: I think we have 120 years of corporate news and educational publication to re-write before Americans will understand the true beauty and wisdom incorporated in the constitution of the United States of America and take responsibility for maintaining it (i.e. initiating a Constitutional Convention). It hurts to say : BUT, it wasn’t perfect. They forgot to erect the legal firewall between Business and State like they did between Church and State. (Same reason: they corrupt each other.)

PS: Both major political Parties need to be treated like the corporations they are and regulated mercilessly by a well regulated militia. It would be a good place to start if we had the means to generate sufficient consensus amongst ourselves. That’s the dilema, isn’t it?
commented on 28th Amendment 2014-05-27 11:24:38 -0400 · Flag
Any Constitutional Amendment adopted would probably apply only to Federal Elections. An amendment providing for public financing would be better than the bribery system that we have now, but I would like to keep the Government out of our lives as much as we can. I think we need an Amendment that: 1. Restricts political donors to being Registered Voters. This means no corporate donors, no union donors and no PAC donors. AND 2. Sets a cap on the size a donation can be with some kind of allowance for inflation and/or deflation. AND 3. Requires prompt, complete and public disclosure of all donations received by candidates.
commented on 28th Amendment 2014-05-27 07:46:01 -0400 · Flag
Paul, Public financing will have all the details framed by legislatures. No other way to set up any system of public finance. It will not appear out of thin air. Legislatures are controlled by what I consider to be a very corrupt bipartisan two-party system. Therefore I see no hope of them setting up a less corrupt campaign finance system public or private. The larger problem and first in line for solution is to fire all the D and R career incumbent public office holders. We all need to take a pledge to do so. 80% of people do not bother to vote, or even register to vote. We have given up participating in elections. Take the pledge, http://cs2pr.us/Voter_Pledge.html#99% , as a first step to clean up the legislatures in order to have any hope of clean elections. Elect nonpartisan and minor party candidates to solve the chronic problems caused by a corrupt system bought by special interests.

The confusion is in existing Constitutional law and resultant case law over the past 120 years. To have equal political speech it must come from the only people we can trust to not have any vested interest in the continuation of the corruption, voters, citizens like you and me. Take the bill of rights and equal protection under the law away from artificial legal entities, so that only natural citizens are protected by the Bill of Rights and the 14th Amendment. The only people I can trust to make change happen is the American people. Voters must be given the power to elect people to public office who will represent them and solve the problems ignored for decades by the corrupt two-party system. Fire D’s and R’s. Kick them all out. I have twenty years into working steadily on that problem. Congressional incumbents will never shoot themselves in the foot except under extreme pressure from the people. Fire them and they will pay attention to our problems. There are excellent solutions to every problem.The solutions are ignored to satisfy the financial needs of special interests. Free tools is another one of my political writing projects, http://cs2pr.us/free_tools.html . The CA is my top priority as I know the right CA will change everything in politics to a more democratic republic for everyone, for the people.
commented on 28th Amendment 2014-05-27 06:29:53 -0400 · Flag
william Falberg, the form it must take to be introduced in Congress is a Joint Resolution, that must be passed by 2/3 of both houses. See Article V of the Constitution. If passed by 2/3 of the states in conventions, it would probably be written in a similar form to be accepted into law by the Congress to formalize adoption of the resolution on a date certain. I wrote my proposal in the Joint Resolution format last year in a pdf. I am not certain that it has my latest edits, not sure, but you can see the format here: http://cs2pr.us/CitizensUSHouseJointRes.pdf . Some minor edits are not done at this point. I created a html today of my proposed text, with some explanation of the language, inspired by some of the questions arising from our conversations on this on this thread. http://cs2pr.us/28th_AmendText.html . By the way I am a retired draftsman who served as a Special Agent in Army intelligence for a few years. I am a college grad, but am a working guy who worked for hourly pay and overtime. I have been writing on political reformmatters for over 20 years. I am beginning to get the hang of it a little. I am looking to improve my proposed CA. Many heads are better than one, mine.
commented on 28th Amendment 2014-05-26 15:15:59 -0400 · Flag
@paul
When you live in a world where black is white it’s easy to confuse “edit” with “discredit” but most folks use words the way they’re used by most folks. That’s how we can talk and write and be understood by each other. Most folks would interpret “interference” to mean “interference”. That’s the beauty of having a common language. Most folks , excluding yourself and I presume most other corporate lawyers, would find that a relatively clear and simple concept. At the risk of sounding snide, I’ll leave it at that.

In your mind, does the Constitution have any meaning? Has it ever changed anything; or has it always been too easy to “get around” for you? Is this all just word games? Am/are I/we wasting our time talking to you? (That’a a simple yes/no question.)
commented on 28th Amendment 2014-05-26 13:15:49 -0400 · Flag
William, snide remarks and name-calling will not accomplish anything constructive. Please stop.

If you expect to have any chance at all of passage, I believe you will have to completely re-write your proposal so it does not attempt to legislate and does not attempt to dictate the behavior of private citizens. This issue of the constitution dictating private behavior is where I had to back away from my own idealized vision of the role of business & money in society in general, change I personally would like to see. But thus far, no constitutional amendment that hasn’t been revoked (prohibition failed) has done that. Being the first to do that poses a new and uncharted challenge.

If you actually want to see your text accepted as an amendment to the constitution, I believe your challenge will be to do that in a way that does not dilute your intentions, yet is also acceptable to 3/4 of the state legislatures, or it will fail to become an amendment. You may not care whether what you want becomes a constitutional amendment or not. If not, that’s your right but this discussion is a waste of time. But if you actually hope to achieve passage, I believe you will have to deal with a number of issues. Not the least of which is the attempt here to dictate private behavior as opposed to dictating how the government should behave, which is what the 27 existing amendments address.

Here’s what you posted (my comments IN CAPS):
“28th Amendment

Corporations are not persons in any sense of the word and shall be granted only those rights and privileges that Congress deems necessary for the well-being of the People. [PROBLEM: MEMBERS OF CONGRESS MAY BE GENUINELY INTERESTED IN THEWELL-BEING OF THE PEOPLE”. BUT I BELIEVE THE MAJORITY ARE MOST INTERESTED IN THE WELL-BEING OF THEIR PRIMARY FUNDERS (BIG DONERS, NOT THE AVERAGE VOTER.] Congress shall provide legislation defining the terms and conditions of corporate charters according to their purpose; [“ACCORDING TO THEIR PURPOSECOULD MEAN ANYTHING. EITHER YOU MUST DEFINE AN ACCEPTABLE CORPORATE CHARTER IN A THIS CA, OVERRIDING ALL EXISTING STATE LAW ALREADY DEFINING AND REGULATING CORP CHARTERS.] which shall include, but are not limited to:
1, prohibitions against any corporation;
a, owning another corporation, [EASY TO GET AROUND]
b, becoming economically indispensable or monopolistic, or [VAGUE]
c, otherwise distorting the general economy;
2, prohibitions against any form of interference in the affairs of;
a, government, [VAGUE]
b, education, or [VAGUE]
c, news media, and [VAGUE]
3, provisions for;
a, the auditing of standardized, current, and transparent account books, and [THIS HAS BEEN LAW FOR DECADES AND SLICK CORPORATE ACCOUNTANTS AND LAWYERS HAVE BEEN FINDING LOOPHOLES FOR DECADES. WHAT’S NEW?]
b, the establishment of a state and municipal-owned banking system
c, civil and criminal penalties to be suffered by corporate executives for violation of the terms of a corporate charter. [HAS BEEN LAW FOR DECADES, AND EXISTING LAWS HAVE FAILED TO STOP THIS KIND OF CHEATING. WHAT MAKES YOU THINK THAT JUST BECAUSE YOU EMBODY SOMETHING IN A CA, THAT SUDDENLY ALL THE CHEATING WILL STOP?]

MOST OF THIS IS ALREADY EMBODIED IN EXISTING LEGISLATION. I DON’T BELIEVE THAT MERELY EXPRESSING IT IN A CA WILL CHANGE ANYTHING.
commented on 28th Amendment 2014-05-26 10:35:44 -0400 · Flag
@paul
I suggest you try editing my amendment because I haven’t a clue what you’re talking about. What “form” is acceptable? (and “acceptable” to whom?) Did some secret new government bureau publish secret new rules for officially sanctioned government lawyers to propose amendments? For Whom? Congress? On what authority? Should I add the part about: “2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”? Does that make it official?
commented on 28th Amendment 2014-05-26 08:29:37 -0400 · Flag
Rich,
I have indeed read your proposal carefully several times. I see 2 problems with your Section 2:

(1) The 1st paragraph of your Section 2 says [truncated for brevity], “Federal, State and local government shall regulate…campaign contributions…to provide for equal political speech….The judiciary shall not construe the spending of money to influence elections or to support political campaigns to be speech under the First Amendment.” These 2 paragraphs of your Section 2 appear to contradict each other. The first statement implies that money is indeed speech (the ability to donate to a candidate for public office implies that the donor supports that candidate), while the second says it’s not. Which is it?

(2) The task of defining what campaign financing limits are is delegated to the legislature, which in my opinion will make sure that any CA they pass will ensure that their gravy-train is not cut off… cutting off the gravy-train is exactly what is needed. The setting of campaign finance limits must be taken away from the legislature. The current Supreme Court has already demonstrated it’s predilections in this area, with which millions of us disagree. As long as the make-up of the SCOTUS is determined by elected officials, it should not be given the task either. And the Executive branch is elected. So, that leaves only the Constitution to make this determination fairly. After much thought, I think the answer to campaign funding is that it must be totally public, the amount of money allocated determined by constitutional decree with NO private contributions permitted.

The founders envisioned the holding of public office to be a form of public service. It has become something else. It’s now up to the people to return the political process to the intent of the framers.

I object to the idea you propose that natural persons living within the jurisdiction of an election can make political contributions in any amount to that election. A political donation is an expression of support for the recipient’s viewpoint or cadidacy. Money is not speech. We must remove money from the election process entirely. Publicly funded elections with NO private contributions permitted is the way to go.
commented on 28th Amendment 2014-05-26 07:37:52 -0400 · Flag
Albert,
Given that I’ve at least temporarily concluded that the Constitution cannot (and should not) dictate social behavior in general (the failure of prohibition is a glaring example), but must limit itself to the behavior of government, perhaps a 28th amendment should limit itself to defining defining the role of money in the political process.

It seems to me that you are going after the thorniest aspect of this problem: how to finance elections fairly. I agree completely with your thoughts that no organization of people regardless of purpose should have any ability whatsoever to influence the outcome of an election. I agree 100% with the notion that only natural persons should be able to influence an election (The Citizen’s United decision was wrong.) and that even natural persons should not be able to use their money to influence an election (The McCutcheon decision was also wrong.).

May I ask for a few clarifications:
(1) You suggest that the maximum contribution that enyone could make to a political campaign be an amount equivalent to 40 hours pay at minimum wage. I’m curious how you came up with 40 hours at minimum wage. Are you saying that individuals can donate up to 40 hours x the federal minimum wage (which today is $7.25) or $290 per candidate, or are you saying something else? If so, what are you saying?
(2) You also say that all elections should be publicly financed. How would your vision of public financing of elections work? I’m not challenging you. Because I also think publicly financed elections hold out the most hope for fairness in the process. But the devil is in the details, so the method of implementation is critical.
(3) Also, is the “40-hours @ minimum wage” donation limit you refer to in addition to public financing?
(4) Finally, to your last point re districting: If elected officials should not be able to do that, how should it get done? Do you think districting should be automatically assigned somehow to eliminate meddling?
commented on 28th Amendment 2014-05-26 06:56:29 -0400 · Flag
William, you answered with a very interesting comment in which you quoted your English professor, but you gave no direct answer to my question. No matter. Your reply did help me to understand that I have not been able to define what I’m talking about clearly enough to write it down, except in short bites, which fail to articulate my thought well enough for others to understand me. I thank you for that.

I see plenty of problems, but no single solution to them which I am able to articulate as an amendment to the constitution, which means, according to you (and I must agree with you on this), that I don’t see those problems clearly enough to solve them. Therefore, at this point I have no text for a new constitutional amendment of my own to offer. Do what you will, but I for now I must content myself with assisting in refining the work of others in an effort to produce an end result that represents progress toward my own ideal.

By the way, I’ll take it that your previous post was a list of your desires for a constitutional amendment, not proposed amendment text. I say this only because although I agree with most of the things you said, as Rich Stevenson pointed out in a recent post, there is just no way that the form of what you posted could ever be acceptable as a constitutional amendment. I suggest you try editing your material (if it’s not clear what material I’m referring to, just ask and I’ll re-post it for you) into a form that would make it more acceptable as a proposed constitutional amendment.
commented on 28th Amendment 2014-05-25 19:20:37 -0400 · Flag
@rich
No. The problem is the corporate corruption of government compounded by the political corruption of business. You corporate shills can continue this endless, pointless and circular debate pretending this constitutional convention is about electoral reform until the rubes forget what started it, but red herrings provide only temporary distraction and social unrest will only continue to build if you don’t come up with a better long-term plan than pretending to function as a democratic republic. You seem to have me outnumbered here so unless someone wants to discuss these issues on their merits I’ll back out and leave you corporatists to argue amongst yourselves. Make sure to leave yourselves plenty of wiggle room in these amendments. Wouldn’t want to offend a fictitious person. Certainly wouldn’t want to offend anyone in the corporate media.
commented on 28th Amendment 2014-05-25 16:14:10 -0400 · Flag
William Falberg. Your Professor is totally correct. Scientific method. Define the problem including the nature of the problem. Why is it a problem? The problem is corruption in elections caused by too much special interest money controlling who wins elections. Public financing will not work because the two monopoly parties are in total power and would control the details of who can and how much can be given to finance elections. Parties from the two parties would still get nearly 100% of the money to continue their monopoly/dictatorship. Independent and minor party competitors would not be included in the mix. The same careeer incumbent D’s and R’s would continue to get almost all the money available and continue to stay in all offices. No change. The two parties are the two most powerful special interests in the county. Those two parties would rig the public funding to have the monopoly win. If all the money comes from the top 1% of special interests they would still control all public policy through legislation, executive support, and judicial decisions that strengthen the financial dictatorship. The people, voters, would give money to candidates who represent their public interests and their common good. If all campaign money came from voters, public policy would support the interests of the voters who have supplied 100% of the money to conduct political campaigns. The solution is limiting the amount of money given per voter living in the electoral district and no money allowed from any legal entity to obligate office holders to repay contributors with corrupt favors. I have been thinking about it for the last two years, and have edited the writing continuously during that time. I have my proposed amendment in wrtiting and do not have any comments from William Falberg or from Albert Amador. All four paragraphs of my written proposal, http://cs2pr.us/28th_Amendment.html#CS28th , four paragraphs.

I would like to see the proposed CA from Paul, from Albert Amador, and from you William. I do agree with Paul that your proposed CA language is more a wish list than it is in the paragraphs of a Joint Resolution. I have mine in a Joint Resolution as it would be presented in Congress. I am looking for sponsors among our current Congresspersons. It is time for you three guys to put it in that form for consideration by this string, and by actual Congresspersons. I could be one of the proposals considered by the Section 5 Constitution Convention when it is called. Congress is not likely to propose an adequate Joint Resolution. It is time for you to write your versions for consideration. Put up or shut up, or consider the proposals that have been written. Edit the writing presented here in this string, by Mta, by Wolf Pac, and by the existing Joint Resolutions already presented in Congress. Define the problem and the solution. The best possible version needs to be written. It seems to me I have not seen the best possible proposal to this time.
commented on 28th Amendment 2014-05-24 21:56:37 -0400 · Flag
@paul
I’m still waiting for your proposed amendment. I think I’ve answered your questions at great length already. It’s your turn.
commented on 28th Amendment 2014-05-24 20:32:19 -0400 · Flag
I think a simple solution for the Constitutional Amendment would be to write it to forbid all private money in politics aside from individual donors. Period. All elections should be publicly financed.

Actually, I think the maximum political contribution that can be donated should be linked to 40 hours of pay at minimum wage (based on the federal wage). This would be the maximum amount that can be donated per year. Additionally, all organizations would be barred from making political donations. Only individual donors would be permitted.

I would also suggest agreeing to accept public financing to run for any office at all levels of government (municipal, county, state, federal), should be a requisite for running. No billionaires or millionaires spending their own money to finance their elections.

I would also make one last point. The spending cap would apply to all political spending. That means donating to an individual politician’s election campaign, a political party, or a political action committee. All you can donate is 40 hours of minimum wage pay.

If anyone attempts to donate more, they should be penalized with a thousand percent fine.

One important aspect of course, is stripping corporations of their artificial personhood and establishing that money isn’t speech. Also, I would caution that any amendment passed should include language that bars politicians from regulating campaign spending themselves.

While it isn’t the scope of this amendment, I would also like to see wording that takes away from elected officials the power to create congressional districts after each census is completed and its time to reapportion the seats for the US House of Representatives. The ability to gerrymander their districts needs to taken away from the bastards.
commented on 28th Amendment 2014-05-24 20:15:53 -0400 · Flag
@paul
I think when you find solutions to problems the words to state those problems and the words to express those solutions come naturally but writing down solutions to problems you haven’t defined is very difficult. Likewise, writing out the nature of a problem is very difficult unless you understand why it’s a problem. If you can’t understand why something isn’t working; there’s no way you can understand the solution, much less put it into writing. I had an English professor that repeated to us over and over for a year: “If you can’t write it, it’s because you’re not thinking it!” I’ve come to believe he was absolutely correct. Put something in writing and let’s talk about it. Otherwise………………………………………….?
commented on 28th Amendment 2014-05-24 19:39:54 -0400 · Flag
That’s just the point William. I don’t have one. I have not yet been able to come up with what I believe will be wording that expresses my vision and is also suitable language for a CA.

You did not answer my question. Is this your proposed text, or is it a summary in your own words of the results you would like to see from the CA you want?
commented on 28th Amendment 2014-05-24 11:39:30 -0400 · Flag
Paul, Section 2 of MTA modified a bit and mine give the authority to set limits: “Federal, State and local government shall regulate, limit, or prohibit campaign contributions and in-kind expenditures, including a candidate’s own campaign contributions and in-kind expenditures, to provide for equal political speech in all campaigns to influence the election of any candidate for public office or the passage of any ballot measure.” The amounts for the first time are not protected speech under the 1st Amendment. Section 2 does address your concerns and does take the matter out of the hands of Congress. Note that limits can be set on candidates funding their own campaigns. So millionaires can’t buy their way in to public office like Rockefellers, or other wealthy families.

It seems you did not read the Section 2 very carefully.

Section 1 states exactly in MTA and no change in my version, "The rights and privileges protected by the Constitution of the United States are the rights and privileges of natural persons only.

Artificial legal entities established by the laws of any State, the United States, or any foreign state shall have no rights and privileges under this Constitution and are subject to legislative regulation by natural persons, through Federal, State, and local law.

The privileges of artificial entities shall be determined by natural persons through Federal, State, and local law, and shall not be construed to be inherent or inalienable." All done through “Federal, State, and local law”, not just by Congress. Under the CA’s proposed Congress is left with no control over the rights and privileges of artificial entities. The CA controls rights and privileges giving them only to natural persons through Federal, State, and Local laws created on all of those levels.

Congress has no discretion to ignore the language of the CA proposed. It takes the power away from Congress it has now. The law removes corporate personhood and ends money seen as speech now protected under the 1st Amendment. Currently it is typical to have 80% of campaign money come from outside of every electoral district. Section 3 would dictate that 100% of all campaign money would come from within each local, state or federal electoral district. Money only from you and me, with limits set under Section 2 so that even the wealthy voters in each district can only give as much as you and I under the law. Those limits can be set locally. Now there are no limits whatsoever with all the loopholes and precedents under case law for the last 100 years or more. These CAs would overturn all of existing law pertaining to Corporate Personhood and money being legally defined as speech. All gone at once. Congress powerless at last to receive bribes from the powerful who now control our political system. It seems to me there would be a total reversal of our political history toward a more democratic republic. We would have at last with a new right added to the Bill of Rights. Equal Political Speech in the amounts of money that can be put into political campaigns.
commented on 28th Amendment 2014-05-24 10:11:35 -0400 · Flag
@paul
OK Paul; how about you enlighten me what a CA should look like. Let’s see your proposal.
commented on 28th Amendment 2014-05-24 07:49:21 -0400 · Flag
William, thanks for re-posting.

This looks like a list of things as you would like to see them, not like the text of a proposed CA. Which is it?
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