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Forum Post: There is only really ONE issue in America!!!

Posted 2 years ago on Feb. 9, 2012, 9:25 p.m. EST by LSN45 (535)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

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!!!

37 Comments

37 Comments


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[-] 2 points by epa1nter (4650) from Rutherford, NJ 2 years ago

Campaign finance reform is half the issue regarding money in politics. Lobbying reform, and keeping officials form taking jobs in industries they have legislated on behalf of is the other half. The latter is where the real money is: $100,000.00 talking gigs for banks and oilmen, joining firms upon leaving office at million dollar salaries to influence the next legislative body. The entire good-old-boy, I'll-scratch-your-back-if-you-scratch-mine network must be dismantled.

[-] 2 points by MalCalder (70) from San Francisco, CA 2 years ago

Yes. Campaign Finance Reform plus Lobbying Reform. They go together. Revolving-Door Reform (if we may call it that) is also very important, but at a notch lower than the other two, I think.

[-] 1 points by epa1nter (4650) from Rutherford, NJ 2 years ago

The revolving door is where the money is: it is the brass ring.

[-] 1 points by MalCalder (70) from San Francisco, CA 2 years ago

I'm not quite sure what you mean. The money is where the money is (to indulge a tautology). We can harvest numbers and draw graphs to show where it is and (more importantly) how it is flowing. But many politicians and corporats spend long careers on one or the other side of the political/corporate "divide" without ever crossing over, while fully doing their part to keep the money flowing.

[-] 1 points by epa1nter (4650) from Rutherford, NJ 2 years ago

I think we are more in agreement than not. What I am stressing, though, is that campaign finance reform is but one piece of a multi-pronged problem. It is an essential one to address, but without tackling the others, we would likely be only minimally better off, if at all.

[-] 1 points by MalCalder (70) from San Francisco, CA 2 years ago

epa1nter -

I believe you're sincere, but if there's well-developed reasoning behind your assertions it's not at all clear. What "other prongs" do you have in mind, exactly, without which getting money out of elections (and lobbying) would result in us being "minimally better off, it at all"? How can those things not be immensely good in themselves?

[-] 1 points by epa1nter (4650) from Rutherford, NJ 2 years ago

The money needed to get into office does not go to the representatives: they can't touch that money except for election purposes. The ability for money to enter politics while any member of congress is holding, or following his/leaving office is the greatest threat I see. Getting into office is merely getting through the gate in order to have access to that money.

As I said, I think campaign finance reform is critical, but until the tentacles of money are also cut after the election is over and done, the problems with corruption will go unabated.

[-] 1 points by MalCalder (70) from San Francisco, CA 2 years ago

It seems like you're emphasizing the motive power of personal greed for wealth (which I agree is very significant), while I'm emphasizing the systemic pressure to satisfy major campaign donors as a condition of winning and holding office.

Take away all greed for wealth, and the systemic pressures remain unaffected (and candidates/officeholders who ignore them lose, just the same).

Take away the systemic pressures and . . . some individuals may be more greedy, some less greedy, some not at all. At least they no longer depend for their political survival on selling their influence. (The thing about systemic pressures is that they're built-in, they don't depend on an individual's character.)

I'm not disagreeing that Revolving Door Reform is very important. Just that it's somewhat less important than removing the direct, systemic influence of money -- meaning, really, corporate money -- from electoral and legislative politics: Campaign Finance Reform and Lobbying Reform. 's'all.

[edit: in other words, it's more important to eliminate a larger-scale more-compulsory form of corruption than a smaller-scale more-optional form.]

[-] 1 points by epa1nter (4650) from Rutherford, NJ 2 years ago

I don't fundamentally disagree with you, although writing it down and concretizing it has a polemic effect sometimes.

I guess the difference is one of emphasis. I see the greed as being extremely large scale, voluntary or not.

I agree wholeheartedly that the systemic issue is very real. If nothing else, it sets up a nearly obligatory quid pro quo between campaign donors and elected officials.

Both the systemic and voluntary mechanisms of corruption, in my opinion, need to be stopped simultaneously. Without that , one can too easily find a way around the other, and we'd be back at square one in no time. It's like building a wall in a river: the water will find its way around it. What's necessary is to dry that river up.

[-] 1 points by MalCalder (70) from San Francisco, CA 2 years ago

[I don't fundamentally disagree with you, although writing it down and concretizing it has a polemic effect sometimes.]

Thanks for noticing that, putting it to words. It's a very important meta- point of the sort that remains perpetually underacknowledged. :-)

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

epa1nter - thanks for your comments. You are absolutely correct! If you have not read it already you HAVE to read "Republic, Lost" by Lawrence Lessig. It is a very recent book. He explains so well what I wish I could articulate better. He correctly identifies the root of the problem and provides several possible solutions. Check it out - you will not be disappointed. Thanks

[-] 1 points by epa1nter (4650) from Rutherford, NJ 2 years ago

That's very gracious of you. Thank you.

[-] 1 points by rayolite (461) 2 years ago

I agree with all of that but the only group I've seen, chased out of here, were the people working for an article 5 convention. Such a thing actually has all the needed authority to deal with all of those issues that you and I agree on. They have a forum, there is a thread in it about priorities,

http://articlevconvention.org/forumdisplay.php?60-Specific-Amendments-Of-National-Concern

Campaign reform is one of those, but also dealing with media appears a prime issue.

[-] 2 points by MalCalder (70) from San Francisco, CA 2 years ago

Hi, LSN45 -

I'm the guy who introduced the "fulcrum issue" idea. Haven't been online consistently lately, but an hour's review of this forum now suggests that it's still the same: idea-active but activity-inert.

Perhaps we should gather like-minds to work together to push this issue from the "yeah yeah yeah" stage toward the development of strategies to amplify it in the national (corporate media-moderated) discourse, into Presidential campaign rhetoric as an every-speech staple, into a staple of floor speeches in congress, into legislative battles -- winning legislative battles.

I sense on this forum a strain that runs something like this: we're a small movement now, with a lot of building to do, so we can't expect major results yet. If the aim is an anarchist revolution, then that's a reasonable attitude.

But public support for getting money out of politics is already there, and doesn't need years or days of cultivating before it's potent enough to challenge any corporate propaganda campaign.. Yet public support can be grown even larger.

Most of the resources for a Movement drive to get money out of politics are already in place, latent, waiting, ready to be galvanized to action. Just as the Movement itself exploded around the country and the world from the Spark in the Park because of the vast tinder of popular frustration lying all around in the first place, waiting -- yearning! -- to be lit. Or something.

Eh?

[-] 1 points by alterorabolish1 (569) 2 years ago

You make the significant point, public support for getting money out of politics is already there! If we focused on this issue only, corporate propaganda campaigns would not be able to distract the masses with reasons to not trust the movement.

I remember when you could fight in a war at age 18, but couldn't vote. That changed quickly when the issue became mainstream.

[-] 1 points by MalCalder (70) from San Francisco, CA 2 years ago

This is why I think the Movement has, so far, been blowing an enormous opportunity. A huge amount of energy has gone toward achieving little -- and practically nothing in terms of substantive systemic change. It is disappointing not because of how little has been achieved but by how much has not been achieved -- how much low-hanging fruit has been left hanging.

A smart strategy to engage the public, to counter and defeat corporate propaganda, to push major structural reforms (within the formal System, short of revolution, which may be a longer-term goal), to get most money out of politics -- these are realistic short/medium-term goals, with even many Republicans, Tea-Partiers, libertarians, etc., already on our side.

Will you join in trying to bring it about?

[-] 1 points by alterorabolish1 (569) 2 years ago

If the focus could be on just the one issue, Money plus speech equals inequality. Money is not speech should be the national debate and it needs to happen similarily to how lowering the voting age was universal. No one dared to get in the way of that issue.

I'm willing to try to work within our current system but I fear proponents of "Political Realities" will attempt distractions.

[-] 1 points by bensdad (8977) 2 years ago

You cannot do campaign finance reform without getting rid of citizens united first:



Virtually everything we want hinges on disarming our opponent –
……………………………………………………..GREED
by stopping the flood of bribes into our government.
This is the first REAL step to
REAL change .

government OF the people BY the people FOR the people

JOIN US >
Join the NYC OWS Corporations are not People and Money is not Speech Working Group
………….( even if you are not near NYC )

http://www.nycga.net/groups/restore-democracy
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NYCRDWG

join us even if you are not in the NY area
check out our comprehensive analysis of
the 17 existing proposed amendments
and our detailed historical timeline of corporate personhood


We can continue,

as a movement of demands
as a movement of declarations
as a movement of marches

OR


Are you ready
.....................FOR ACTION ?
Are you ready
.....................TO DO SOMETHING REAL ?
Are you ready
......................TO JOIN 83% OF YOUR FELLOW AMERICANS ?


We must not
DEMAND that we WANT THEM.to give to US
We must
DEMAND GOALS THAT WE WILL ACHIEVE FOR OURSELVES


Because of the Supreme Court's decision,
we cannot accomplish anything significant, without FIRST -

Overturning Citizens United !!!
Ending Corporate Personhood !!!


83% of Americans already agree on it
as stated in the ABC/Washington Post poll

.........................................

In the the PFAW Poll -

85% of voters say that corporations have too much influence over the political system today.
77% think Congress should support an amendment to limit the amount corporations can spend on elections.
74% say that they would be more likely to vote for a candidate for Congress who pledged to support a Constitutional Amendment limiting corporate spending in elections.


PLEASE COMMENT ON: MY "IDEAL - COMPREHENSIVE" AMENDMENT

Section 1 {A corporation is not a person and can be regulated}
The rights protected by the Constitution of the United States are the rights of natural persons { human beings } only. Artificial entities, such as corporations, limited liability companies, and other entities, established by the laws of any State, the United States, or any foreign state shall have no rights under this Constitution and are subject to regulation by the People, through Federal, State, or local law. The privileges of artificial entities shall be determined by the People, through Federal, State, or local law, and shall not be construed to be inherent or inalienable.

Section 2 { Money is not speech }
Federal, State and local government shall regulate, limit, or prohibit contributions and expenditures, including a candidate’s own contributions and expenditures, and may restrict all financing to “public financing” for the purpose of influencing in any way the election of any candidate for public office or any ballot measure. As above, all foreign contributions are forbidden.

Section 3 { Transparency & Disclosure }
Federal, State and local government shall require that any permissible contributions and expenditures be publicly disclosed less than 60 days after the transaction and before the election.

Section 4 { Voter Suppression }
Federal, State and local government shall not require any new forms of id for voting, beyond what was needed to register for previously registered voters. College photo-id ( including for out-of-state students ) must be acceptable. Federal, State and local government shall permit early voting for at least the 6 days before the election day.

Section 5 { Election Day & Registration }
Federal, State and local government may make election day a holiday. Federal, State and local government must allow simultaneous registration and voting on election day.

Section 6 { Eliminate the Electoral College – one man one vote } The electoral college is abolished and the President and Vice-President will be elected by popular vote. .

Section 7 { Eliminate the Filibuster } Unless specified in the Constitution , all voting in the House and Senate shall be based on a simple majority.

Section 8 Nothing contained in this amendment shall be construed to abridge the freedom of the press .

{NOTE: sections 4, 5, 6, 7 are not required to overturn CU – just my wish list }
COMMENTS ON THE ABOVE ARE VERY MUCH APPRECIATED


IT IS TIME FOR YOU TO ACT ----> JOIN US TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE


Our primary goal should be to pass a constitutional amendment to counter Supreme Court decision Citizens United (2010) , that enables unlimited amounts of anonymous money to flood into our political system.
We don’t have to explain or persuade people to accept our position – we only have to persuade them to ACT based on their own position. Pursuing this goal will prove to the world that we, at OWS, are a serious realistic Movement, with serious realistic goals. Achieving this goal will make virtually every other goal – jobs, taxes, infrastructure, Medicare – much easier to achieve –
by disarming our greatest enemy – GREED.


IT IS TIME FOR YOU TO ACT ----> JOIN US TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE


THE SUCCESS STORY OF THE AMENDING PROCESS The Prohibition movement started as a disjointed effort by conservative teetotalers who thought the consumption of alcohol was immoral. They ransacked saloons and garnered press coverage here and there for a few years. Then they began to gain support from the liberals because many considered alcohol partially responsible for spousal and child abuse, among other social ills. This odd alliance, after many years of failing to influence change consistently across jurisdictions, decided to concentrate on one issue nationally—a constitutional amendment. They pressured all politicians on every level to sign a pledge to support the amendment. Any who did not, they defeated easily at the ballot box since they controlled a huge number of liberal, and conservative and independent swing votes in every election. By being a single-issue constituency attacking from all sides of the political spectrum, they very quickly amassed enough votes (2/3) to pass the amendment in Congress. And, within just 17 months, they were successful in getting ¾ of the state legislatures to ratify the constitutional amendment into law. (Others were ratified even faster: Eight —took less than a year. The 26th, granting 18-year-olds the right to vote, took just three months and eight days.)


If they could tie the left and right into a success - WHY CAN'T WE ??????????


IT IS TIME FOR YOU TO ACT ----> JOIN US TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE


1
83% of Americans ( and 76% of the Rs ) have already opposed CU in
the ABC/Washington post poll and the above
IS THEIR POSITION ALREADY.
2
We don’t have to work to convince people on the validity of our position.
3
This Amendment { sections 1+2 }is REQUIRED to overturn CU.
And all other electoral reform can be passed through the normal legislative process. 4
OWS and the FORUM pages are chock full of ( mostly ) excellent ideas to improve our country.
All of them have strong advocates – and some have strong opposition.
None of them has been “pre-approved” by 83% of Americans !
Pursuing this goal – is exactly what Americans want.
What do we want? Look at that almost endless list of demands – goals - aims.
Tax the rich. End the Fed. Jobs for all, Medicare for all. So easy to state our demands! Can you imagine how hard it would be to formulate a “sales pitch” for any of these to convince your Republican friends to vote for any of them?
83% of Americans have ALREADY “voted” against CU. And 76% of the Rs did too.
All we have to do ask Americans is to pressure their representatives – by letters - emails – petitions.

Wanna take your family on vacation?
Convince the 7 year old and the 10 year old to go to Mt Rushmore.
Then try to convince them to go to Disneyland.
Prioritizing this goal will introduce us to the world – not as a bunch of hippie radical anarchist socialist commie rabblerousers – but as a responsible, mature movement that is fighting for what America wants.


IT IS TIME FOR YOU TO ACT ----> JOIN US TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE


I feel that using the tactics of the NRA, the AARP, the TP, the anti-SOPA – who all represent a minority – who have successfully used their voting power and political pressure to achieve their minority goals - plus the Prohibition Amendment tactics – bringing all sides together - is a straight path for us to success that cannot fail to enable us to create and complete one task that the MAJORITY want.

There are at least seventeen different Constitutional Amendments in the works.
Help us support these moves to get the money out of our political system.


Join the NYC OWS Corporations are not People and Money is not Speech Working Group
http://www.nycga.net/groups/restore-democracy
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NYCRDWG
Plan details http://bit.ly/vK2pGI

regular meetings Wednesdays 6-8PM @ 60 Wall St – The Attrium


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

Bensdad - thanks for your comments. If you have not read it already you HAVE to read "Republic, Lost" by Lawrence Lessig. It is a very recent book which deals specifically with citizens united. He explains so well what I wish I could articulate better. He correctly identifies the root of the problem and provides several possible solutions. Check it out - you will not be disappointed. Thanks

[-] 1 points by MalCalder (70) from San Francisco, CA 2 years ago

[You cannot do campaign finance reform without getting rid of citizens united first]

Really? I don't see the ineluctable connection. Perhaps you can icksplain?

Also, I don't see the direct relevance of the entirety of the cut 'n' paste that followed your authentic comment.

[-] 1 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 2 years ago

Third parties and idies have no shot until it is fixed. All the campaign laws need to be thrown out, and a few simple ones instated.

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

I came across a book recently that defined the situation we are in perfectly. If you have not read it already you HAVE to read "Republic, Lost" by Lawrence Lessig. He explains so well what I wish I could articulate better. He correctly identifies the root of the problem and provides several possible solutions. Check it out - you will not be disappointed. Thanks

[-] 1 points by 1sealyon (434) 2 years ago

For the sake of the children?

Why don't we do something for the 1,300,000 children in America that each year never get a chance to see the spacious skys, purple mountains majesty, or amber waves of grain?

Only one issue indeed.

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

I'm not exactly sure what you mean, but there is a real high probablity that the root of the problem you are referring to leads back to the way we finance campaigns in America. Please read the book "Republic, Lost" by Lawrence Lessig. It was released very recently - he does a much better job explaining it than I ever could. I think you will find it extremely interesting and suggests a way that those 1.3M kids may actually have a bright future here in the U.S. Thanks

[-] 1 points by 1sealyon (434) 2 years ago

The post argued that to address the issue was necessary " For the sake of our children". What is the leading cause of death in the US for children under the age of 2?

[-] 1 points by MalCalder (70) from San Francisco, CA 2 years ago

It's not clear, but I think you're missing the point about "one issue". I describe the role of money in politics as a "fulcrum issue" because it is thru it all other issues are leveraged. For a fuller explanation of this see my earlier post:

http://occupywallst.org/forum/if-this-is-our-movement-what-is-our-message/#comment-418056

But if you're just fixated on abortion, and will bring it into any discussion of something else because that's what you do . . . well, that's your business. If so, tho, please be clear that that's what you're doing, to prevent other people wasting their time trying to figure you out. Thanks.

[-] 1 points by 1sealyon (434) 2 years ago

For the sake of our children? What other one issue has a greater impact on our children?

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 2 years ago

the voting process was in question in 2000 and 2004

no one trusts the ballot box

if we all voted publicly,

everyone could verify the results

[-] 1 points by MalCalder (70) from San Francisco, CA 2 years ago

True.

But do you see why even the issue of vote integrity is strategically subordinate to the Campaign-Finance/Lobbying Reform issue? Until we get big money out of politics our voting choices will be, practically speaking, between big-money candidates and no-chance fringe candidates. In that case, the voting process may be perfectly run, but the range of possible outcomes remains relatively narrow, pro-corporate [anti-People] regardless.

But yes: GWB has never won a Presidential election by the rules, he's won two by theft and wide-ranging tactics of vote corruption coordinated, not by his campaign, but thru a decentralized network of corporate conspirators.

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 2 years ago

"Until we get big money out of politics our voting choices will be, practically speaking, between big-money candidates and no-chance fringe candidates."

ouch

I don't think the solution is to vote for "big money" candidates and try to convince them to pass meaningful campaign reform

I will be posting my vote publicly that is the best I can do to make my vote count

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

Matt - thanks for your comments. If you have not read it already you HAVE to read "Republic, Lost" by Lawrence Lessig. He explains so well what I wish I could articulate better. He correctly identifies the root of the problem and provides several possible solutions. Check it out - you will not be disappointed. Thanks

[-] 1 points by MalCalder (70) from San Francisco, CA 2 years ago

We can practically think of "big money candidates" as "corporate candidates". The terms aren't exactly synonymous in practical terms, but close to it.

["I don't think the solution is to vote for "big money" candidates and try to convince them to pass meaningful campaign reform".]

What is "the" solution? Whatever works, or has a fair chance of working, however distasteful some may find it, or however it may offend the theoretical sensibilities of some.

If rational persuasion can work with some elected officeholders, fine, use that. If public pressure campaigns, backed by real threats, are necessary, fine, that can be in our toolbox, too.

But (not that you're proposing this) to withdraw from electoral politics on some kind of puritan ideological principle -- to divest ourselves of what little power can come from voting (combined with other forms of power) is self-defeating. It is to play right into the hands of our most committed enemies: those who are dedicated to suppressing the vote, to disenfranchising their political opposition. Such symbolic stances may feel good, but they involve reducing the full scope of one's power.

Btw, many elected officeholders don't really need much persuading to oppose the role of money in politics. They play the game because they have to in order to survive -- it's built into the System -- but many resent the huge amount of their time in Washington that they have to dedicate to fundraising for their next campaign. Many complain about having to always be in campaign/fundraising mode, and would love a change to the System.

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 2 years ago

fair enough

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

forjustice - thanks for your comments. If you have not read it already you HAVE to read "Republic, Lost" by Lawrence Lessig (I assume you have because of the quote you reference). He explains so well what I wish I could articulate better. He correctly identifies the root of the problem and provides several possible solutions. Check it out - you will not be disappointed. Thanks

[-] 0 points by freewriterguy (882) 2 years ago

personally i think there are just too many people, thats the main problem, if there werent so many people i bet i could cut down some trees and build a house, and irrigate a stream to grow some food and there wouldnt be another man to tell me I couldnt, without a permit or anyother form of enslavement.

[-] 1 points by fairforall (279) 2 years ago

if that stream is my milkshake you better not drink it.