Tag Archives: campaign finance reform

More Failed Political Theatre


July 24, 2013 – The “Amash Amendment” was voted down.  What was this amendment, you might wonder?  It got very little coverage really, so you wouldn’t be so out of line to ask.  The Amash amendment, surprisingly, was offered by a Republican representative despite the opposition of the Speaker of the House, Boehner.  It would have limited the NSA’s ability to collect the so-called meta data on phone and internet data usage, and otherwise reduced the funding and scope of the NSA.  It drew, as politics sometimes is wont to do, a strange series of bedfellows.  Right wing “libertarians” and “left wing liberals” joined together to support this bill and still it failed by a vote of 205 to 217.   Here is the roll call so you can see how your own representatives voted.

On the one hand, it really didn’t matter how this vote turned out.  We should all understand that.  Should this have passed, and then succeeded in the Senate, which was far from likely to begin with, the POTUS had promised to veto it.  Of course, he has promised to veto numerous things in the past and then signed them any way.  However, this one, I find his threat much more credible as it is more in line with his right wing totalitarian regime approach to things.  “Trust me.  We’ve got your best interest at heart.  We’ll give you some pretense of good faith, such as lip service about believing in same-sex marriage, but in reality, we’re going to call out the militarized police to control you and beat you into submission, while half way around the world, we kill children in your name.”  {Some Afghan kids aren’t bystanders, indeed!!  You right wing, murderous bastard!}

–  Deep breaths  –  Deep breaths  –  Deep breaths  –

It is also very likely that he would not have vetoed it because he has come out so strongly in support of the program.  For example, on June 18, 2013:

Charlie Rose: So I hear you saying, I have no problem with what NSA has been doing.

Barack Obama: Well, let me — let me finish, because I don’t.

Or, on June 7, 2013:
“In the abstract, you can complain about ‘Big Brother’ and how this is a potential program run amok. But when you actually look at the details, then I think we’ve struck the right balance,” he said.

Except, we are not allowed to look at the details, so you are asking us to take your word, and since you have shown yourself to be a liar, we can’t trust that, Mr. President.

So, if you think that there was really any chance that this amendment would have succeeded, then I would like to discuss a lake I have for sale.  You might be interested.  It has a beautiful view, and several ships are included.  Details here.

Okay, so it didn’t really matter because president Napoleon the Pig, er, I mean Obama would have vetoed it.  However, it also didn’t matter, because if the POTUS is to be believed, and he has been backed on this by many in the congress, then:

“The programs are secret in the sense that they are classified. They are not secret, in that every member of Congress has been briefed,” he said during a speech in San Jose, Calif. “These are programs that have been authored by large bipartisan majorities repeatedly since 2006.”

Understand what that means is that each of those 205 members of congress that voted for the Amash amendment is one of two things.  Either they are so spineless that they couldn’t act without sufficient support around them.  They couldn’t stand on their own two feet to say, “This is wrong, and I must stand against it.”  Or, they are still conducting political theatre.  They saw that there were enough people in their constituencies that were at least a little upset that they would benefit from making it appear that they were trying to do something to end these programs, without actually trying to do something.  Then, they can return to what is much more important to the Republicans in the House of Representatives – a 40th attempt to repeal the ACA, other wise known as Obamacare.

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Roll up your sleeves, put away the toys, and lets do this!


Do you ever get tired of having the same conversations over and over again?  That overwhelming déjà moo striking you like a ton of bricks?  I know I do.  There are legitimate reasons to repeat a conversation.  For example, when there are new conditions, new facts, or if one has new students and needs to teach them.  However, this is so often not the case.  Particularly when the topic and context is our national political scene.

So, we discuss “gun control”, again, and one loud segment screams “You can have my guns when you pry them from my cold, dead hands,” as though confiscation is what reasonable people mean when they’re discussing gun control.  Reasonable people start to discuss ways that we could try to keep guns in the hands of responsible, sane people, out of the hands of insane, impulsive people, and from needlessly killing innocents.  And, yes, I suppose that there is likely a small segment who does advocate for the collection and destruction of all of the guns.  Though, honestly, I can’t find them anywhere other than in the ravings of the lunatic right-wing paranoiacs.  We go through this dance every few years, but the truth is that nothing has really changed in regards to guns themselves over the last half-century or so.  There has been some technological improvement in the ammunition and some in the firing rate, but essentially, we are still using the same guns we were using nearly a hundred years ago.  In fact, in some cases, we are literally using the same guns.  So, what has changed?  That is where our real focus needs to be, but as with so many things, we can’t get past the trees to see the forest.

Besides, that would mean looking in the mirror and taking responsibility.  That would mean, that we stop blaming the “schools”, the “government”, “Hollywood”, etc and accept our own personal responsibility in the choices that we have made as individuals, as parents, and as a society.  I am going to come back this in a moment.

It’s not just with guns that we keep having these same discussions, is it?  How many times in the last 15 years or so have we had national conversations about reforming the electoral process or campaign finance reform?  How successful has that been?  Why?  Because the people we send to do the job really have no interest in doing the job, and we, as a society, have not maintained any real interest in achieving a result either.  Think about where you work.  Let’s assume for the sake of discussion, and because I am sure that you are a responsible person, that you diligently work throughout the day, as you should.  When you look around though, I am sure you see a number of your co-workers who are frequently not.  They’re talking to others, taking extra breaks, surfing the internet, filing their nails, etc.  At a larger scale, this is essentially what happens with campaign finance reform, and all of the other things that we send our “leaders” to Washington, state capitals, and even the local county and city halls to change and address.  We send them there, and then there is no real oversight, so they get side-tracked with the perks or games playing.  The few who may care are incapable of accomplishing much because the others are too busy playing.  Until the deadlines approach.  At that point though, now all eyes are on them, and they have to seem to be doing their jobs to the best of their ability.  Which, sadly, they have been all along.
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Reform School, boys and girls?


Campaign finance reform is now officially off the front burner.  Almost everyone will let this slip off the radar until the next big election, because that is what we do in this short attention span theater culture we’ve developed.

And, yet, this is really an important time to act on it.  Yes, I know we have other issues going on, and I am not suggesting that we should put them aside.  We need to deal with the unemployment situation.  We need to deal with the financial “crisis”.  We need to deal with a lot of things.  However, this is one of those things that really should be dealt with before the next election cycle.  Preferably before the mid-term, but definitely before the next presidential election.  I know that isn’t going to happen, but it should.

There is a very strong argument to be made that the ideal situation is a truly level playing field.  That would be a situation of completely publicly funded campaigns.  If individuals, corporations, unions, PACs, etc still wanted to contribute then they would be able to contribute to that fund in a similar way that we as individuals are able to contribute to the Presidential Campaign Fund with our income tax filing.  It is highly unlikely that they would, of course, since they are not actually interested in funding democracy, but rather in buying candidates and influencing the outcomes of campaigns.  They are not altruistic, but rather acting with a specific goal in mind.

Still, that is precisely the reason that the argument for public financing of campaigns is so strong.  It takes that influence out.  It makes the campaigns and the outcomes more pure, because the candidates are less likely to have been purchased so blatantly and publicly.  It does open the possibility that companies and unions, more so than PACs, would contribute to these funds for the positive PR.  This move would certainly put an end to the Citizens United ruling and the mess it created.  There would be no more SuperPACs.  And, that leads to the strongest negative also.  It would make it more difficult for groups of people such as unions, AARP, NRA, etc to get their messages out.  If not done properly, a system like this would intrude on 1st amendment rights, and courts would properly strike it down.  While this is not the space for a full solution, there are ways around those pitfalls.

Public financing of campaigns, if done properly, would also help to break the strangle hold that the Democrats and Republicans have on our winner take all election system by, again, leveling the playing field.  If all sides have equal funding to get their messages out, then voters actually have a chance to hear it.  The Rocky Andersons, Gary Johnsons and Jill Steins of the elections will have a better chance to unseat the 800-pound gorillas sitting in the throne.  As it stands, money is allowing for a louder voice to be heard, instead of a better voice or all voices.   Despite the best efforts of the campaigns themselves, myself (here and elsewhere), and others, the mainstream media virtually ignored all of the “third-party” candidates, to the point that some people were shocked to see candidates other than Barack Obama and Mitt Romney on their ballots.

There are many issues that would be addressed by moving to a fully publicly financed campaign system.  It would come with other pitfalls that would have to be guarded against, but it would provide the greatest solutions to what all sides say they see as a huge problem in our political system.  All sides decry the influence of special interests via money on the outcomes of the process.  All sides insist they believe that something must be done about it, and yet, when the time comes to actually do something about it, no one wants to give up their own sweet deals, perks and benefits.

So, we know that public financing is off the table any time soon.  “Top tier” candidates opt out of it because they can spend much more money if they are not limited by it, the public is choosing not to contribute to it (participation is down to 6.6% per the FEC), and no one in office today has the testicular fortitude to suggest it, much less the support to actually get it passed.  What’s left?  What other alternatives do we have to address the issues with campaign finance and the corruption in our system?

First, make no mistake.  It is rampant, systemic corruption, but it is not confined to just the elected officials.  The corruption is, in fact, in the minds of the voters, or more often, in the minds of the non-voters.  At least the voters, even when misguided or simply selfish, are still participating and trying.  They have not completely given up or been lulled into being total sheep that choose to be acted on rather than making even the slightest effort at acting for themselves.  There is nothing more enslaving than the belief that one is powerless.  There is little more foolish than to believe that one can live in a society and be unaffected by the decisions that are made by that larger society.  To choose not to participate in those decisions is to choose to believe that one is, in fact, quite powerless.

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Why there oughta be a…


So, let’s jump to the end first.  Term limits are neither necessary nor are they advisable.  Was that anticlimactic?

I was having a short discussion the other day that turned to the topic of legislative branch term limits and it led me to doing a bit of research.  It was a topic of which, honestly, I knew very little about the background.  I knew that I was not in favor of them, but from an historical perspective, my knowledge was limited.  It still is, but I know more now than I did.  (More on that in a bit.)

Let me be absolutely clear.  Term limits of this kind are a bad idea because:

  • They are a treatment of the symptom not the disease.
  • They are a way for the electorate to remain uninvolved rather than to encourage an educated and active electorate.
  • They force out the few good men & women along with the many who get rich(er) or become enamored with the power and prestige of the position.
  • They do not achieve the goal that is intended.

There appear to be essentially two variations on the concept, with multiple variations on the theme.

  • Hard limit – The current most popular version on the national stage seems to be 12 years.  That is, 6 terms for Representatives and 2 terms for Senators.  There are, of course, other variations.  After this hard limit is hit, the individual is ineligible to serve in that role again.  Some proposals would couple this with removing any eligibility for any other elected office of the same rank, others would not.  Most seem to also include removing residual benefits, though this is not strictly speaking a term limit proposal.
  • Rotational – While less common, it is out there, and it has a historical basis.  This is a concept that a person is only eligible to serve x number of years in y period.  It too has a number of variations.  (This version was entirely new to me in the conversation referenced above, but as I will get to, has a LONG historical basis.)

The specific proposal put forth in the discussion went like this: Don’t allow anyone to run for a second term while still serving.  Make them take a term off, and then they can run again while not in office.  The thought behind this is that they would have to think long term.

I don’t agree that this would cause them to think long term.  However, leaving that aside because it is a much deeper and longer discussion than this is the immediate venue for, my immediate response was that this was a knee jerk reaction which sounded good on the surface, but that the practical effect would be to actually further entrench only those with money in the political seats of power.   It was immediately apparent to me what this meant.

The off term would consist of finding a job, working, then, quitting that job, in order to campaign, and then returning to office.  Assuming, of course, that one won the election.  Unless, of course, one is already wealthy, a business owner that can afford to not be on the job, etc.  In other words, part of the entrenched elite already.  Otherwise, it is impractical.  If we’re going to do that, we don’t need a rotational term limit arrangement.  We can just have them commit to a Bonded Term Limit.

Now, for that research I mentioned.  I found that this rotational concept has existed in the past.  In fact, it has existed in American history.  That’s right.  In Section 8 of the Constitution of Pennsylvania – September 28, 1776:

No person shall be capable of being elected a member to serve in the house of representatives of the freemen of this commonwealth more than four years in seven.

And, in Section 19:

… Any person having served as a counsellor for three successive years, shall be incapable of holding that office for four years afterwards….

And, in Section 31:

… No person shall continue in the office of sherlit more than three successive years, or be capable of being again elected during four years afterwards…

So, yes, this rotational term limits has a historical precedent in American history.  However, lets think about the time period.  Who was eligible to participate in the counsel and the other offices?  According to Section 6:

Every freemen of the full age of twenty-one Years, having resided in this state for the space of one whole Year next before the day of election for representatives, and paid public taxes during that time, shall enjoy the right of an elector: Provided always, that sons of freeholders of the age of twenty-one years shall be intitled to vote although they have not paid taxes.

So, while there was no land owning requirement in this Constitution for voting or holding office, it did require the paying of taxes, which at the time was only being paid by the wealthy.  The effect was the same.  Only the upper crust were eligible to vote and to participate in governing the state.

The fifth article of the Articles of Confederation (Ratified 1781)  also specified that (emphasis added):

No State shall be represented in Congress by less than two, nor more than seven members; and no person shall be capable of being a delegate for more than three years in any term of six years; nor shall any person, being a delegate, be capable of holding any office under the United States, for which he, or another for his benefit, receives any salary, fees or emolument of any kind.

And, we note that this was not kept in the Constitution which replaced this ineffectual document just a few short years later.

Though there is reason to believe that many of the “founding fathers” did, in fact, believe in term limits, it appears that these were to be self-imposed or imposed by the voters.  They were not to be arbitrarily imposed by the documents forming the basis of our government.

If we the people are not educated enough and aware enough to make informed choices about our candidates, then we cannot rely on an automatic term limit to save us from ourselves.  That would only guarantee that one fool is out and another is in.  It would not guarantee that the next one is better.

Some arguments put forth in support of term limits include:

  • Voters overwhelmingly prefer term limits (more story here)
  • Term limits increase competition and encourage new challengers
  • Term limits break ties to special interests
    • On the contrary, it just gets them in the game earlier.  Campaign finance reform breaks the ties to special interest lobbying.  However, special interest lobbying isn’t actually the issue.  It is the undue influence of high dollar special interests to the detriment of other interests that is the actual issue.  All interests have a right to be heard in a free country.  So, this issue, while completely valid, is not addressed through term limits, but rather through campaign finance and privilege reform.
  • Term limits improve tendency to vote on principle
    • Actually, again, this has not been borne out.  Please do see the article on California’s results.  The result actually seems to be a higher tendency to vote on party lines.  Almost as if they’re buying their future jobs knowing they’re only going to hold this one for a short time.

As a side point, there was a rotational term limit system of sorts in the Roman Republic too.  It too was used to train the elite ruling class to maintain their elite ruling class.  (Read up further if interested.  Cursus honorumRoman Republic; Pre-Constitution Term Limits)

There are other reasons put forward, but they all run the same lines and they all make little to no sense when you start to look at the state experiments and the real results.  Term limits have an emotional appeal.  I admit this.  In a practical sense though, they do not have the desired result.

That is the real deciding factor.  Forget the fact that we would have to throw out the good guys when we finally find them.  Forget any other logical reasoning, and just look at it from a practical stand point.  It has been tried, and it simply does not achieve the desired result.  Let us learn from this.  It is time to move on.

Are we going to be insane?

BONUS:

Just because I stumbled on it and it amused me.  I thought I would share it here.

A Brain Dead Voter’s Guide to Term Limits


Primarily wrong and fundamentally flawed!


One of the most significant issues facing our political system is the corruption introduced by the ever-increasing influx of money into it.  This comes from a variety of sources, and there have literally been thousands of books written on the topic, and millions of web pages.  (An Amazon.com search for books on the topic produced 3,948 results as of this writing.  A Google search for “campaign finance reform papers” produced “about 63,500,000 results”.)  We’ve heard discussion on the influence of SuperPACS.  We’ve talked about the special interests.  Lobbyists.  (Even Jack Abramoff is warning about people like him. Ha!)  Term limits.  Congressional insider trading is a hot topic lately.

Here though is one idea you haven’t heard and that really needs to be implemented.  Let me start first by posing the following.  Picture the outrage that would swell if it was proposed that any government – city, county, parish, state, or federal – were to fund and/or conduct the election for the board of directors of the ACLU, for the United Auto Workers or for the American Family Association.  Can you imagine?  Would any of us agree that would be appropriate?  While I can see that there would be a small handful who might, just because weneverhave true unanimity, I am confident that the majority would be so large as to be nearly complete.

Now, why then do we the people in the guise of our city, parish, county and state governments continue to fund and conduct the internal elections for the “two” major political parties in America – the Democrats and the Republicans?  That is precisely what we are doing with every primary election that happens.  When we go to the polls for a primary to select a candidate for one party to run against a candidate from another party in a general election, you are engaged in an internal decision-making process for that party.

The short version of the history of why this happens comes from trying to make sure that the party bosses of the past were not manipulating the voting machines to put their own people in place.  (Sound familiar?)  This may have been a laudable goal at the time.  It may still be a laudable goal.  However, it is still an inappropriate crossing of a line between government and a private organization.  Further, it doesn’t appear to be working very well, does it?  Does anyone really believe that they’re voting for a candidate rather than voting either against another candidate or voting for the least offensive candidate?

Worse though, government running of the primary process intrenches the political bosses in the seats of power.  It helps to prevent the rise of third parties into the political field.  It contributes to preventing non-party affiliated individuals from having a legitimate opportunity to be heard.  It is only one factor, but it is one large factor.

It is also expensive!  I have been looking for the actual data, and the states do not make this easy to find.  I have not found the hard numbers that I wanted to present to you.  Mostly what I find are oblique references that I won’t cite.  I suspect that this is, in part, because most of these expenses are born at the local level and are not really compiled at the state level.  In other words, no one is really tracking it. We track how much the candidates are spending.  (That is a whole other topic!)

However, what I am finding is specific locations.  From this we can extrapolate somewhat.  We cannot get a specific number, and I will not even attempt to do so.  I will let you make your own guess.  For example, Woodbury County, Iowa recently cited the cost of the 2010 Gubernatorial election as $153,000.  They also cited the cost of the 2008 presidential election as $251,802.  These are not primaries, and these are not New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, or other major metropolitan areas where the expense is sure to be larger.

If the parties need to have a primary to choose their candidates, I understand that, and I certainly have no objection to that, other than the fact that I argue that it is time for them to cease to exist.  However, we the people and our avatar, the government, must get out of the business of conducting these elections for them.  It is an improper exercise of governmental power and influence on the behalf of particular, chosen individuals and institutions and it is an unacceptable expenditure of funds.  If they need them, let them have them.  Just let them fund them, and conduct them.  Then, let the rest of us laugh at the mess they make of them.  We will also learn a lot about how well they might actually be able to run the country by how well they run their primaries.

This seems to me to be an idea that from Tea Party to Occupy, we should all be able to get behind.


We MUST engage!


The reality is that there are only two ways to change a system.

That may sound like an oversimplification, but it really isn’t.  One can either work from within the system or from outside of the system.  From a political perspective, one can either work within the system, or one can work through violent overthrow.  Now, of course, there are multiple flavors of each of these.  Violent overthrow, for example, could come from outside invasion; it could come from home-grown rebellion, or some variation or combination thereof.

Let me be very, VERY clear.  I am not advocating , nor do I support, violent overthrow of the system.  I cannot say that the time will not come, but we are not there yet.  I still, perhaps foolishly, hold out hope to save and reclaim the system.  I still believe that the underpinnings of the system, despite all of its flaws, can be good and workable.  Let me be equally clear about that though.  At this point in American history, it is NOT good, workable, or sustainable.  That is what we have to work to fix!

The other way to change a system, though, is to work within the system.  To take advantage of its structure and its quirks.  To use the system against itself, so to speak.  To do that, one cannot simply continue to support the status quo. One cannot simply withdraw from the system either though.  To do that, allows the forces in play to win.  It allows them, in fact, to grow stronger.

Tune in.  Turn on.  Drop out.  Really?  How’d that work out?  Not so well, actually.  I mean, sure, for a small handful of people it worked out great, but for the larger number, for the society at large, things continued on. Is that what we want?  Do we want a handful of small groups to possibly form nice little communes somewhere?  A few farms that are self-sustaining until the outside world stumbles onto them and ruin them?  Tent cities somewhere that survive until the police or army of the larger society comes in and kicks us out of “their” parks?

Or, do we want to change the world?  Do we want to really impact the world around us?  Personally, I want to change the world for the better.  I want my son, my nieces, my cousins, my friends, and so on to have the world as it can be, not as it is.  Not as I fear it will be, if we do nothing.  I want to find the reset button and push it.  I want to keep all the progress we’ve made in so many ways and get rid of the detritus that has built up.  Flush it right out.  But, not throw the baby out with the bath water!!

So, how do we do that?  We do not do it by isolating ourselves from the rest of our society.  We do not do it by pretending the rest of society doesn’t exist.  Nor by ignoring our history.  We enjoy our computers.  We enjoy our smart phones.  Our cable.  Our satellites.  We want our solar power.  We want all our mp3 players and nifty gadgets.

To some extent OWS took inspiration from the so-called “Arab Spring”.  In those instances, the whole of society wasn’t thrown out.  The people did not withdraw from society.  Nor should we.  But, we do have to make major changes.  I am seeing a very disturbing trend though in that many of the vocal elements of the movement are advocating isolation.  They are advocating separation.  Advocating building parallel structures within society and withdrawing from the rest of society.  This will not achieve the goals that we want.  This will only result in killing the movement.  It will only result in building a larger chasm between the younger and the older elements of our movement.  It will only result in failure of the movement and the continuation of the path that we’ve been on which will lead to the collapse of our society.  Then, we all lose our toys and our security.  And, I suspect that there is an element within our movement that wants exactly that.  That there is a survivalist-anarchist element who thinks there is nothing worth saving in our society.  I disagree.  I think the vast majority of us disagree too.

Many of those outside of the Occupy movement have made light of the movement because of the heavy use of technology by Occupiers.  They have spread images showing us using these as though this were contrary to what we stand for.  Is it?  I don’t believe it is.  And, this is the message that I have answered to them.  We are not anti-capitalist.  We are anti-corruption.  We are opposed to the ridiculousness of a CEO making 1723 times what the average worker earns.  One reason we are opposed to this is that it is unsustainable.

This is a very broad movement, and none of us is really empowered to speak for the movement as a whole.  This is, to some, a strength.  To some, this is a hindrance.  I have long believed that true democracy simply does not work in groups larger than about 200 people.  It is paralyzing in groups larger than that.  It is for that very reason that our “founding fathers” established the representative republic that we have.  The ancient Greeks and many others throughout history have known this too.  What I only recently discovered is that there is, in fact, an academic theory in support of this.  It is called Dunbar‘s number.  In short and in with vast oversimplification, what Dunbar’s theory essentially says is that as the size of the population grows we spend more and more time working on the social cohesion of the group.  Eventually, we’re spending more time maintaining the integrity of the group than we are on achieving the group’s aims.

I still believe this, and, in fact, I think that if we look at OWS in NY we find that they have been forced to admit this too.  The implementation of “Spokes councils” is an implicit acknowledgement of this, despite any denials to the contrary.  I have already witnessed this at my own local Occupy.

Additionally, the primary reason that we as a species have been able to progress technologically to the point that we have is specialization.  Because we have settled and specialized so that one person or group, for example, can produce sufficient food to free another person or group from that duty so that the second person or group can pursue other activities, has allowed that second group to do other things.  Other things, like, oh, go to space?  Devise smart phones?  Sadly, also things like dream up useless and pointless wars.  Dream about taking their neighbor’s goods, and raping their neighbor’s daughters, or sons, too.

We really have to face the truth.  No amount of technology is going to solve this basic problem.  We cannot all stop to vote on every decision that has to be made, and if we are not all voting, then it isn’t a “true” democracy such as many in the Occupy movement want to demand.  That is just not realistic.  It is a beautiful dream.  But, we do not live in that reality.  Nor do we live in the world where all problems and issues will wait until 7pm to be decided so that we can all pause to go through the issues and make a decision.  Which leads us to an added complication.  One that is hugely important.

None of us, and I do mean NONE of us, has the time and resources to be adequately educated on each and every topic.  So, we must either be able to trust others to tell us quickly what we need to know and then jump to a conclusion, and vote, or we have to trust others to act on our behalf.

One of the many criticisms leveled against the consensus-based democracy is that of “groupthink”.  That is, many members want to be accepted by the “cool kids”, and so they either say nothing and wiggle their fingers at the appropriate time, or stand up just to say, “I just wanted to echo what _______ said.”  If someone has the audacity to actually challenge what the facilitators are saying, while still actively and stridently supporting the goals, that person is pushed aside as “not understanding”.  Again, I have seen this in my own local Occupy.  This too gets in the way of actual leaderless, participatory democracy.

Are you beginning to see why “true” democracy just doesn’t work in large numbers?

So, what is my point?  Quite simply, we really must work within the system.  We need to organize politically.  I have maintained all along that the Occupy movement is neither left nor right.  That it is about right versus wrong.  However, I do firmly and proudly proclaim that I am a liberal and that it is my belief that the right is simply lacking in understanding.  History has consistently shown that those who support the right side of the political spectrum cannot survive except by force and deceit.  If we are going to organize politically, we can do so both from the right and from the left.  We can organize on these principles and then we can begin to actually work together to deal with the rest.

The Occupy movement is about getting corruption out of the system.  Are we not primarily for the following?

  1. Reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act immediately
  2. End the fiction of Corporate personhood
  3. Reinstate fair taxation across the socioeconomic spectrum by
    – closing tax loop holes, and
    – returning rates to pre-1980’s levels
  4. Reign in lobbying from the Left and the Right
  5. Campaign finance reform

We need candidates that will support these issues.  These specific issues.  We need them at all levels, but specifically we need them at the federal level.

Where are you?


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