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Forum Post: Bernie Sanders - 180,000 Signatures Supporting Citizens United Repeal and Counting

Posted 2 years ago on Jan. 13, 2012, 6:41 p.m. EST by philosophersstoned (233) from Gypsum, CO
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

"If you are worried about the collapse of the middle class, or why we are the only country in the industrialized world that doesn't have a national health care program, growing gap between the rich and the poor, everything else that's going on in this country - you have to look at money in politics" - Bernie Sanders

http://sanders.senate.gov/imo/media/audio/011312_SANDERS_2_RADIO.MP3

Add your signature: http://sanders.senate.gov/petition/?uid=f1c2660f-54b9-4193-86a4-ec2c39342c6c

28 Comments

28 Comments


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[-] 4 points by LSN45 (535) 2 years ago

You hit it on the head - this is the real problem. The rest is symptoms!

There are a lot of improvements that need to be made. The list of reforms Americans want to see is long and varied depending on who you talk to. That said, I believe there is one reform that would provide the American people the best chances of seeing other meaningful reforms actually happen - that is REAL, loop-hope free CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM! I have seen others on this site calling this the "fulcrum" or pivotal issue. Right now the current legalized bribery, pay-to-play system of campaign donations and paid lobbyists has disenfranchised the American voter. Until this is fixed, any other reform the politicians may try to placate us with (be it a change to healthcare, clamping down predatory school loans, new financial regulations, etc.) will be about as effective as a farmer putting a new roof on his CHICKEN COOP, but still letting the FOX guard it.

We need to go back to the original political currency. Instead of the current system of who can collect the most money from corporations and special interests it should be who has the BEST IDEAS to EFFECTIVELY RUN THE COUNTRY (we don't need "Wealth Redistribution," what we need is "Political Influence Redistribution")!

For the sake of our children and future generations of Americans, we need to take back our democracy from the rich and powerful who are using their vast sums of money to "speak" as if they represent millions of Americans. This "Corporate Personhood" that has crept into our laws is allowing them to manipulating our policies in their favor at the expense of the average American (the recent "Citizens United" Supreme Court ruling is a miscarriage of justice and must be reversed. The $50 or $100 a normal American may give to a political campaign becomes meaningless when corporations or other special interests are handing our millions to buy political access to the decision making process.

For decades now the corporations and special interests have had our "representatives" bought and paid for (both on the right and the left). Concentrating our efforts on getting the money out of our politics is the best way we can create an environment in which further reforms can be realized. Until we end the current system of legalized bribery (campaign donations) and paid lobbying our politicians will continue to be the LAP DOGS of the corporations and special interests. What we need first and foremost is real, loop-hole free CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM!!!! If the corruption is not dealt with first, the chance of any other meaningful reforms becoming a reality is almost zero - the special interests will just use their money to buy votes and put forward bills that create loop-holes or otherwise twist the law in their favor. If we want our children to live in a country where there vote matters, we need to get the money out of our politics, otherwise they will increasingly become the 21st century version of the "landless peasant." Spread the word - End the LEGALIZED BRIBERY!!! CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM needs to be THE main goal of the protests!!!

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[-] 1 points by wiernser (4) 2 years ago

Nice for sharing!!!!

[-] 1 points by ronniepaul2012 (214) 2 years ago

In addition, everyone should write or call their state and federal representatives to demand reform. A flood of correspondence from their constituencies is gonna get more attention than some squatters mic checking in a park. It's time to refine and focus tactics

[-] 2 points by brightonsage (4494) 2 years ago

But not as much attention as a big fat juicy check. So, I agree it is time to address tactics. But I am cynical. Would your tactics have anything to do with your username? Hmmmm?

[-] 1 points by ronniepaul2012 (214) 2 years ago

Well, I guess to the extent I participate in the political process.

It is the way we can affect change, if enough people (civilly) communicate with their elected officials. I'm on the side of the fence that ows has raised some good issues, but their methods are offputting to the many.

[-] 2 points by philosophersstoned (233) from Gypsum, CO 2 years ago

"offputting" hahaha ... "squatters" ... go the fuck back to Ronpaulforums.com you shitswine

[-] 0 points by ronniepaul2012 (214) 2 years ago

I thought I saw a thread the other day about this forum getting less pissy? Guess you missed it.

[-] 1 points by JamesS89118 (646) from Las Vegas, NV 2 years ago

To be completely honest, if one can NOT be disgusted by Wall Street but rather be turned off by drum beating tykes, then they really do not matter. At all.

[-] 1 points by ronniepaul2012 (214) 2 years ago

I am turned off by both. I am sorry if that wasn't clear. It' a means won't accomplish the ends sort of thing, IMHO.

[-] 1 points by JPB950 (2254) 2 years ago

Citizens United began as a reaction to government censorship of a political film. The fact that it's being interpreted differently now is unfortunate, but the campaign finance law involved was a bad law to begin with. Under it political opinions in movies became illegal within certain time periods. The person-hood of corporations had already been established decades earlier.

I don't care one way or the other if a corporation is considered a person, I'd like the money out of politics. The problem is, do we want to do that by limiting speech? Will you stop any PAC, or group from making an issue ad? No ads for union support, the environment, defense, peace. All these things have a political slant to them. What opinions will we allow groups to publish prior to an election?

[-] 1 points by francismjenkins (3713) 2 years ago

As unpopular as it may be to say this, I sort of agree with you. The law at issue did more than merely implement time, place, and manner restrictions on speech, it was overly broad. Citizens United is a purely political organization, it is not a for-profit corporation. Sure, it may be a conservative organization, but presumably the same restrictions would have applied to a liberal public interest organization (that had no connection whatsoever to any for profit corporation).

I think this whole issue distracts from the real problem, which is behind closed doors dealing, and the concentration of regulatory power at the federal level.

I mean, it's really conservatives who support centralized federal power. By implementing federal regulations, without provisions that retain the right of citizens to sue tortfeasors under state law, all a company needs to do is establish a cozy relationship with the federal regulatory agency in charge of regulating its industry, and it can circumvent liability for negligence (e.g. the revolving door between federal agency employment and working for the companies these federal employees were regulating, while in federal service).

By allowing tort suits at the state level (without caps on liability), we spread the regulatory power around (and it's much less likely a company will be able to bribe every lawyer in the country, every judge, every state legislature, etc.).

Furthermore, congress may not be able to regulate speech (especially political speech), but it can regulate its own behavior. Why not support a law that does something like prohibiting private meetings with lobbyists (effectively, killing the lobbying industry), or any special interest representative. Instead, members of congress should be restricted to holding regular public meetings. The same type of law could be implemented for fund raising (no more exclusive access fund raising events, only events where the public is granted access). I think this would be far more effective than fighting for a Constitutional amendment that will likely never happen.

[-] 1 points by brightonsage (4494) 2 years ago

How about we start with NONE. That would be such a shock to people they might just wake up start informing themselves and vote responsibly.

OK I am dreaming. but it was a nice dream. Bernies' amendment is a good start. It doesn't fix everything, but it is required to fix the most important things. There are some pieces of legislation that Bernie agrees can be passed which help some, like whoever actually pays for ads, must acknowledge it in the ad. We could prohibit foreign nationals and corporations from, contributing, placing ads etc.

The Supremes stupidly (deliberately) in a finding of fact agreed that there was no indication that the money really was a corrupting influence. Ha ha ha.

Montana is enforcing a law governing elections preventing companies, and corporations from funding elections. It is going to the Supreme Court this term. It is based on the FACT that the company was completely controlling everything. They may be able to make their law stick. If they do, states can regulate state and local elections. That would also help. It is possible to get them (SC) to reverse their finding of fact, acknowledging their error. That would only happen if they were honorable people. You are laughing again? Well, it was a nice dream. Now, go sign up.

[-] 1 points by JPB950 (2254) 2 years ago

I'm not sure I disagree with the finding in Citizen's United. At least as I see the case it was about banning a political film on Hillary. Part of my education as a voter is to listen to opinions, from Maddow to Limbaugh, hear their arguments and look for flaws and omissions. I want to hear the swift boat attack on Kerry and the Rather piece on Bush's reserve record. I don't want someone to draw a line and say from this date on you can't hear any opinions.

[-] 1 points by brightonsage (4494) 2 years ago

My guess s that you are going to get pretty sick of the stuff you are going to hear between now and November. Swift Boat taught us that saturation coverage with lies will change minds. Psychologists have confirmed this phenomenon. So, instead of what used to happen, which was if you discovered a scandal about your opponent you took it to network news and the newspapers. They took what you had and vetted it. Checked the sources independently and when they were convinced they published or put it on the air.

The swift boat approach is you make up a story based on a loose accumulation of the facts and you may fake a few things or accept testimony from a false source and you produce ads and you run them on every available outlet. By the time that news organizations with shrunken staffs today, investigate and confirm or debunk the ads, the election is over and the winner won because of false propaganda. What can be done? Nothing. Too late.

Under Citizens United, the Chinese or Iranians or the Mafia or a drug cartel can buy the production and placement of the false ads to get the winner they want.

Is this really the kind of elections and governance that you want?

[-] 1 points by JPB950 (2254) 2 years ago

What are the choices? No one is allowed to produce a political issue ad prior to an election or anyone is. Freedom of speech was written into the constitution when newspaper were highly partisan and often employed smears and outright lies against candidates. In spite of that it was deemed important enough to secure it. You can always legislate total disclosure.

[-] 1 points by brightonsage (4494) 2 years ago

I didn't say it was easy. One idea I lean toward is a combo of your Hobson's choice. No ads, robo-calls, or campaign events until 4 weeks from the election, then for the 4 weeks you can consume all media if you want. Contributions limited and only from registered voters. Limiting the time means limiting the cost. If you bought everything you can only spend so much. (This borrows from the UK and some other parliamentary democracies.) Candidates are free to write and distribute books and position papers. Media can aggregate and compare and contrast the issue positions and present them beginning with the campaign period. Debates are encouraged, and candidates pick from the forums offered. The for weeks allows the country to take a reasonable hit on productivity and we aren't driven totally insane by unending campaigns. The playing field is leveled for candidates and for media.

Slander laws are still on the books. Civil suites may dampen the enthusiasm for trashing opponents falsely. media should be liable for propagating known falsehoods. This might put Rupert out of business but some sacrifices must be made? What do you think?

[-] 1 points by philosophersstoned (233) from Gypsum, CO 2 years ago

nice molework - hiding your obvious pro-corporate bias behind empty rhetoric. However when you use terms like "government censorship," "political film," "interpreted differently" you reveal your true pro-corporate agenda.

Regulations of corporate campaign donations limit nobodies speech. Given ever PERSON employed by that corporation still has every right to donate to campaigns out of their own pockets. Corporate campaign finance is a travesty and arguments supporting it's deregulation are universally dishonest and disgusting.

[-] 1 points by JPB950 (2254) 2 years ago

McCain-Finegold specifically banned the airing of political broadcasts by unions or corporations 30 days prior to a primary and 60 days prior to the general election. During arguments the government stated it was of the opinion that books too could fall under this law.

I don't care what you think of my motives or bias, the concept of corporate person-hood was already well established in cases going back to the late 1800's. Citizens United was about an anti-Hillary video. McCain-Finegold banned it's airing. The case started out as censorship of a political video.

[-] 1 points by brightonsage (4494) 2 years ago

And the Chicago fire started because Mrs. O'leary's cow kicked over the lantern, some people say. Others say fire and fuel got together and burned Chicago. Me, I like Chicago. I sure wouldn't want it to burn again. Got any ideas?

Oh, and I believe that individual people are persons and they have babies and go to war and are held responsible for their actions and they form companies which don't look like babies and the companies don't grow up to be people or persons and they don't vote and they don't go to war and they do business but they are not conscious and even if they were, they couldn't vote and they can't give money to politicians and they can't bribe people and if they do something illegal, they have no immunity and the can be fined and put to death but not pout in jail and they are a creation of man and only exist to serve men and not their own interests.

Personhood is precious and should not be wasted on things which are not persons and can not have a life independent of real persons, they are just parasites.

We really don't want to be governed by parasites. Even Republicans have been heard to say that.

[-] 1 points by JPB950 (2254) 2 years ago

Corporate person hood got its start with a case in 1819 over a corporation's ability to enforce contracts and was secured in a case over tax deductions and the railroads in 1886. It didn't start with Citizens United, it was simply used in that case.

Push for your amendment if you think it will solve the problem. I believe it could end all issue ads and regulate what groups can say (through film, video, and print) during an election.

[-] 1 points by brightonsage (4494) 2 years ago

My point was that it just doesn't matter how it started. except to note that it resulted in settled law and only a bad case of judicial activism could turn it on its head, And by folks who decry judicial activism.

Here try this I just posted in on another thread. I didn't say it was easy. One idea I lean toward is a combo of your Hobson's choice. No ads, robo-calls, or campaign events until 4 weeks from the election, then for the 4 weeks you can consume all media if you want. Contributions limited and only from registered voters. Limiting the time means limiting the cost. If you bought everything you can only spend so much. (This borrows from the UK and some other parliamentary democracies.) Candidates are free to write and distribute books and position papers. Media can aggregate and compare and contrast the issue positions and present them beginning with the campaign period. Debates are encouraged, and candidates pick from the forums offered. The for weeks allows the country to take a reasonable hit on productivity and we aren't driven totally insane by unending campaigns. The playing field is leveled for candidates and for media.

Slander laws are still on the books. Civil suites may dampen the enthusiasm for trashing opponents falsely. media should be liable for propagating known falsehoods. This might put Rupert out of business but some sacrifices must be made? What do you think?

Don't you think there should be some way of getting at the truth in making voting choices?

[-] 1 points by JPB950 (2254) 2 years ago

I'd certainly like to see those types of changes put in place. A better crafted set of campaign finance laws. Televised campaign statements more on the order of 5 or 10 minutes for a candidate to state his position, rather then 30 seconds spent trying to get up to fear his opponent. Whatever is done needs to be better thought out then simply throwing another amendment on the table.

[-] 1 points by brightonsage (4494) 2 years ago

Ahhhh but without the amendment you can't do any of this. If you get then you have a shot at getting this. Without the money. the representatives have no choice but to listen to the people. I agree the amendment should be well thought out but I don't think it is wise to put details that may be obsoleted by technology etc.should be in a Constitutional amendment. That said, I believe the amendment should also get the money out of state and local elections. It should also restrict politicians from becoming lobbyists, consultants etc. and should prevent relatives from getting jobs, consulting contracts etc. What I as talking is stopping all of the corruption (that we can identify or anticipate) in the governance as well as elections. I have heard it said that there were only two corporations at the time of the ratification of the Constitution (I don't know it that is true.) In any case, they were not blessed with an article of their own, which gives some insight as to their importance in the eyes of the founders?

[-] 1 points by JPB950 (2254) 2 years ago

I would think that every small business in the country is a corporation. The idea of corporate personhood gives them the right to enforce contracts with people. Take away that personhood for your good cause, you're going to get unintended consequences. The amendment gives all constitutional rights and protections to people, not just those associated with campaign finance.

It's a pleasant thought, picturing the confusion in major corporations when people begin ignoring their contracts, but small business's make up most of the economy and need the protections.

[-] 1 points by brightonsage (4494) 2 years ago

Some protections they do need, I grant you. But those protections at the statute level are sufficient. When you incorporate, where do you do it? At the Secretary of State's office in the state of incorporation, which can be where the headquarters is located, in Delaware, which is more protective of the corporation and less protective of people, citizens and shareholders, and corporations outside of Delaware. or in some other state to take advantages that they offer. Many small businesses are sole proprietorships, and partnerships, as well. I don't think you will see the confusion you describe and perhaps long for because the vast majority of people managing corporations, boards of directors (who could do with a little less protection, I think) and shareholders would not quickly give up a major advantage to exploit such a temporary opportunity. But that is my assessment of the character and psychology of these people. You could have them pegged better than I do. If so that would explain many things.

[-] 1 points by JPB950 (2254) 2 years ago

I have very little legal knowledge in these matters, I have simply read the history of the development of corporate personhood. I'm uneasy with laws and amendments that require additional laws to solve problems created by the solution. Citizens United arose out of a poorly designed law, McCain-Finegold, corporations already had status as persons. Now we need an amendment and next we'll need laws to solve whatever problems are created when personhood is taken away.

[-] 1 points by brightonsage (4494) 2 years ago

This won't happen next week and I am sure their will be a lot more discussion and vetting before this happens there are several groups circulating that have similar intents with different language that must be reconciled. But I believe it will happen. The corruption must be rooted out, and this is the only way.

[-] 1 points by JPB950 (2254) 2 years ago

An amendment may or may not happen, if the economy improves slightly the popular drive will fade, people in general see the problem more as big government then big corporations.

With complex problems there is rarely only one way to solve the problem. As long as we have capitalism as a system in place we might find it easier to control if we regulated the size of corporations. Broken up into smaller units there would be more competition. The power comes from the size of these corporations.

[-] 1 points by brightonsage (4494) 2 years ago

I think your first conclusion is incorrect based on the surveys I have seen. I agree there is rarely one way, and in this case there would be multiple ways except that the Supreme Court has preempted all but one.Smaller would help and certainly the Sherman Antitrust Act has been under utilized but with bundling and SuperPacs and permanent organizations like the Chamber of Commerce, breaking them up without preventing them from acting in concert does nothing. The power is not in the size of the corporations it is in the amount of money that acts as a unit. A cosmetic solution is worth less than nothing because some would believe that problem is solved when it isn't.

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