Lynn Abbott: King Dollar

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— Last Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court negated your vote and mine and gave them to corporations and unions. With unfettered access, these entities now can spend as much as they like, when they like, on political campaigns. We thought we lived in a democracy where one person equals one vote. Now it is a monarchy, and the dollar is king.

This decision frees up corporate and union political contributions. However, unions do not have big enough bank accounts to affect most political races. They already spend about as much as they can on politics. Thus, I’ll focus only on the increased influence of corporate money today.

Imagine that as the midterm elections heat up next summer, you have studied the voting record and speeches of one of our legislators who is running for re-election. You decide you really like this candidate’s position on energy independence — or health care reform, or education, or local growth policies, or any other issue that is important to you. So even though your money is tight, you contribute $50 to that campaign. You also go door to door persuading others to join in with a few dollars. It’s grass-roots politics at its best.

Suddenly, a massive $1-million-plus ad campaign is launched against your candidate, financed by a large corporation with deep pockets. Scathing commercials blare from the TV. Big full-color newspaper ads make unfounded statements. How will your candidate combat this onslaught with the $50,000 that you and others have collected in small donations? It won’t happen.

Corporations’ primary goal is to make money for their shareholders. An oil company fights legislation that restricts drilling where water may be contaminated. Health insurance companies stand against guaranteed insurance for people with serious illnesses or pre-existing conditions. A pharmaceutical company opposes candidates who support volume pricing for Medicare prescriptions. Corporations are not in business for the common good, and they were never intended to be. When they flood the airwaves with commercials that favor certain candidates, it is with the full intention of seeing the passage of legislation that will enhance their bottom lines.

Elected officials, on the other hand, are in office to represent the best interests of their constituents. They make decisions that affect every aspect of our lives, from the environment, to health care, to our economic climate and to education. They must remember that they represent the people who drink the water, buy the prescription drugs and worry about losing jobs.

Jonathan Alter states in this week’s Newsweek that this court decision is the “most serious threat to American democracy in a generation.” I agree. In addition to all the reasons above, I oppose this decision because, as Alter points out, it overturns 100 years of federal judicial precedent and kills campaign finance laws of 22 states.

When I told a friend that I was furious and depressed about this Supreme Court decision, he said he thought it was a necessity. His point was that our policy decisions have been shaped by corporate money for years, but that we ignored it because it wasn’t out in the open. This court decision has now put the issue squarely in front of us. We must act now. Fortunately, there is a vehicle already in place: the 2009 Fair Elections Now Act (S. 752 and H.R. 1826). Introduced last March in the Senate by Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Arlen Specter, D-Pa., and in the House of Representatives by Reps. John Larson, D-Conn., and Walter Jones Jr., R-N.C., this bill would allow federal legislators to focus on their constituents instead of on fundraising. Candidates could run on their qualifications and integrity, without having to cultivate a network of lobbyists. For more details on this bill, please see www.publicampaign.org/node/38166.

Ideally, we should have passed this bill long before tackling any of our critical issues. Health care, education, financial regulations and climate change all should be decided by legislators who can focus purely on the merits of the issues and the benefits to their constituents — not whether their vote will bring in a big ad campaign in the next election. If you agree with me, please call our legislators: Sen. Mark Udall at 202-224-5941, Sen. Michael Bennet at 202-224-5852, and Rep. John Salazar at 202-225-4761. Please ask them to make this bill their top priority.

Abbott is a member of Routt County Democrats.

Comments

Fred Duckels 4 years, 2 months ago

Lynn, Money in politics has been a problem as far back as I can remember. I think that you are mostly concerned about money that will not benefit your cause, as are most. I have a better soluton, for starters let's call for term limits. These politicos are not about to diminish their domain. They are concentrating all power and money in Washington in order to make an easy one stop solution for lobbyists. Under the present situation wa are headed for a fiscal train wreck evident to anyone not blinded by ideology or power. The tea parties are not well organized, but are crying out to both parties to sober up. In your next article I would like to hear solutions that will pass the common sense test, most of the ideas coming out of Washington will not.

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trump_suit 4 years, 2 months ago

In this area, I happen to agree with both Fred and Lynn.

Corporations should not have the same rights as individuals. In my opinion the Bill of Rights was not intended to protect the corporate entity.

Term Limits are required. It is the only way to control the greed and influence. How can Senators like Strom Thrumond(1956-2003) and Robert Byrd (57 Years) continue to be effective at representing their constituents. These Congressmen/women and Senators are treating their appointments like lifetime tenure instead of public service. A new crop every 10 years or so would go along ways towards ending the partisan poison that currently exists.

Fred, I continue to maintain that the Tea Party platform should include a denouncement of the Bush policies towards torture and illegal surveilance programs. Why is it that those violations of our rights are acceptable?

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Troutguy 4 years, 2 months ago

Welcome to the new United States of Corporate America. The best government money can buy. What is most disturbing about this is that both the House republican leader Boehner and Senate republican leader McConnell support this decision as a "step in the right direction of restoring the 1st amendment rights of these groups". Term limits? Forget about it. The supreme court would probably throw those out as unconstitutional too.

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Steve Lewis 4 years, 2 months ago

Thanks Lynn. Particularly for the research on the proposed campaign reform. I agree completely with you and all above that we have too much $$ in our politics. It is ruining us.

I also agree with Fred on term limits. I doubt the Supreme Court could touch such a law, but it would be damn hard to get an already corrupt Senate to go there.

As a Democrat, I urge local Democrats to consider the huge difference between the sources of Senator Bennet's campaign contributions and Andrew Romanoff's campaign contributions. I have little doubt which fellow is better aligned with my interests.

Let's clean as much of the $$ out of our politics as we can. Don't expect the media to support this idea or give it much press - most of that tainted money ends up as revenue to their ad departments.

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bubba 4 years, 2 months ago

I am just trying to understand the opposition to this:

Organizations (including corporate entities) have long been recognized as 'people' under constitutional law. For a period there, we had a law which limited the freedom of speech of a certain group of people (businesses and unions), while upholding that of others (political organizations, natural people, etc). So are we up in arms because the supreme court is upholding the constitutional rights of people we don't agree with? Or are we actually taking issue with the 'person' status being conferred upon organizations.

Look at it this way: Example 1) a group of people dislike a certain candidate for, I don't know, a city council seat. So they pool their interests, and take out ads against said candidate, because they feel this individual's election would not help them. Example 2) a group of people pool their interest and form a business. A candidate whom they disagree with is running for office, so they take out ads against said candidate. Example 1 has happened in this very town (you know who you are), while Example 2 was illegal until a few days ago. The court is not saying that corporations should rule the world, they are saying that the constitution of the USA prohibits censorship, which is what has been happening.

Campaign finance reform would be great, and should happen, but censoring groups you disagree with is not the way to achieve meaningful change.

By the way, does anyone know how much money the UAW donated to Presidential, Congressional and Senatorial campaigns last time around? I've heard estimates between 250-400 million, but I am not sure. Small price to pay for a controlling stake in two of the world's largest auto manufacturers. Somehow I don't think that the financial strength of unions should have been dismissed so quickly in Ms Abbot's letter...

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Chuck McConnell 4 years, 2 months ago

But Lynn, just think about it a minute and apply some simple math.

Would you rather have a dominance of union support similar to what elected obama and represents about 11 percent of working Americans or corporate support which represents some 80 percent of working Americans? Corporate support benefits both the corporation and the people who work for those corporations. Union support generally benefits unions and is aimed at increasing union membership but most importantly to the union bosses -- their own job security.

How did you like the deal obama cut with the unions to exempt their membership from the 40 percent tax on "Cadillac' health care plans and keep the tax on the majority of Americans (most of whom worked for corporations) as a blatently obvious payback for union support in his election?

Where was the equity there?

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Steve Lewis 4 years, 2 months ago

bubba, “Are we up in arms because the supreme court is upholding the constitutional rights of people we don't agree with? Or are we actually taking issue with the 'person' status being conferred upon organizations.”

It’s a mix for me. ½ the former, ½ the latter. $$ flowing into politics to from a corp entity is flawed because that entity is as pure as the corp in its motive – profit. Its money that has no care for the environment, 20 fiscal quarters from now, or impacts society.

So I take issue with the status as a person, and it’s a “person” I don’t agree with. Of course your 1) is a tiny fraction of the potential of your 2).

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JLM 4 years, 2 months ago

Unions --- which obtain their funding exclusively from their members through union dues --- have always "invested" their money in political campaigns not at the direction of their members but at the unilateral direction of their management.

It would not be unfair to suggest that this particular source of funding has provided its financial support exclusively to Democratic candidates.

One would have to ask a few fundamental questions:

Under what particular moral authority do unions --- which are after all simply "unions" of workers --- impose and collect dues to be used for political purposes?

Why should an individual worker --- a member of a union --- be compelled to pay a portion of his labor to a union for political purposes of any kind or in support of a candidate or cause that he personally does not wish to support?

Why should the managment of a union be allowed to support a candidate or cause with the union dues of a member without consultation or permission from that union member?

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JLM 4 years, 2 months ago

A corporation is a legal entity owned by shareholders which exists for one reason --- to shield the individual shareholders from the liabilities of the corporation.

An individual shareholder cannot be held liable for the liabilities of the corporation. This is the one and only benefit of a corporation which is visited upon its owners.

A corporation --- just like a sole proprietorship --- stands before the bar of justice as an "individual" or "person" held liable for its personal liabilities.

There is over 100 years of "corporate" law which says that the corporation is a "person" under the law. This is neither new nor revolutionary.

In much the same way that a trade union speaks with authority for the interests of the entire trade union, a corporation seeks to speak for the "perceived" interests of its shareholders. These interests may be political in nature.

Currently, a union can participate in political free speech with its checkbook while a corporation cannot. Please note that this is a Federal law and varies from state to state as it relates to state law. As an example, corporations can contribute directly to candidates in S Carolina and Florida and cannot in Texas.

A corporation is the collective bargaining party opposite to a union; and, one could fairly argue that the dues paid by a union member and ultimately used by the union management to fund its political activities are actually derived from the funds paid by the corporation as labor expenses.

In this manner, the corporation itself is funding the political activities of the unions.

The Supreme Court decision simply brings the opposing parties --- unions and corporations --- into a balanced stance as it relates to participation in the political process.

It is difficult to question the equity created by this arrangement.

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Jeff Kibler 4 years, 2 months ago

Corporations pay a myriad of taxes, specific to and directed at corporations. What taxes do unions pay?

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JLM 4 years, 2 months ago

I personally abhor the financial participation of both unions and corporations and would encourage a mutual and complete "disarmament".

The challenge is to make this work while respecting the rights to "free political speech" in America.

Our Founding Fathers conveyed the right to vote solely upon property owners with the logic that only owners of property should be allowed to vote to tax themselves. Remember the FF were pretty hung up on that "taxing without representation" concept.

The resolution to this dilemma is probably to publicly fund elections. This is a big, big, big can of worms.

An intermediate way station may be to require both unions and corporations to obtain the approval of their members and shareholders to fund political free speech.

I thought that the President's calling out of the Supreme Court in the SOTU address was particularly boorish and inappropriate. The SCOTUS is a co-equal branch of the government and is not suberservient to the Executive Branch. And this from a "constitutional" scholar.

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Jeff Kibler 4 years, 2 months ago

Yes, tonight the constitutional scholar said:

"We find unity in our incredible diversity, drawing on the promise enshrined in our Constitution: the notion that we are all created equal, ..."

He must have been too busy to read the Declaration of Independence.

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ybul 4 years, 2 months ago

The only problem with term limits would be that the elected officials take so much time learning the system that those behind the scenes who do not get elected end up being the "deciders".

We need to stop the Demopublican speak and focus on the true nature of the political debate. That of the individualist vs the collectivist. We have been moving further and further away from the individualist towards the collective and concentrating power in DC works towards that.

Bring the decision making back to the local level. What works in Atwood KS will not work in Steamboat Springs nor will it probably work in Washington DC. The current answer seems to be more money and if one looks at one of the best funded school systems in Detroit (at I believe $10,000+ per student) and looks at their results one money is not solving the problem.

Lets stop trying to give people fish while trying to make sure they can survive and make sure that everyone has the same opportunity to fish and that they are exposed to different ways of "fishing" for themselves in the most cost effective way possible. In doing so the current education paradigm should be rethought as in many cases the investment in ones education does not pay back the capital (which in its truest form is a store of someone's hard work) invested in it.

We seem to be on a hamster wheel running ever faster to achieve what goal? Today it seems the accumulation of more $, for what purpose? Some have the idea of raising more money annually to give away, but it is quite possible that we are fostering an environment that those individuals are dependent upon our charity. Which might make us feel good, but does that serve to make our community better? Would working harder to ensure that all residents have the opportunity to make a decent life for themselves.

DC will not solve our problems and in many cases because the apparent incomes in the valley will take our tax revenues and divert it to an apparently less fortunate community, based upon income. Yet they fail to take into account that more income is needed to live here versus Atwood, KS. Redistributing wealth based upon a belief that a dollar here is equal to a dollar there. It should be, but it is not.

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MrTaiChi 4 years, 2 months ago

@ JLM

As usual, I agree with most of your statements, particularly the populist comment that you would prefer big money to be out of campaigns all-together.

I'll bet that you overlooked what is obvious to you and others, that corporations are formed to pool capital in a joint venture which could not be afforded by individuals. It is the awesome weath accumulated by corporations and compounded by their profitable enterprises that makes them a threat to democratic institutions unless they are regulated, e.g. anti-trust and monopoly laws. Corporations are not inherently good or evil. They just are. (letting my knowledge of Taoism slip here)

It sounds like we are still wrestling with the theories of government that the founders did, how to balance the power of the masses to confiscate wealth from those who have property and are entitled to the fruits of their labor, and still allow democratic representation based on popular vote?

In the business world, if the law does not protect landlords, there will be no property to rent. If the law does not allow mortgages to be foreclosed, there will be no mortgages.

To say that Microsoft and I are both persons and have an equal opportunity to influence government, doesn't require debate. It's obvious that there is a disparity of power, influence and access.

I think that we'll take awhile sorting it out, but we will.

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Troutguy 4 years, 2 months ago

Websters defines speech as 1) the power of speaking. 2) act or manner of speaking 3) talk, conversation. 4) public discourse 5) language, dialect. Why is it considered free speech when you give money to somebody?

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trump_suit 4 years, 2 months ago

Well written MrTai.

I think that we are further confronting issues that the Founding Fathers could never have envisioned. The global scope and scale of communications is beyond any comprehension to those people that lived in the 1700's. It is up to us to determine how the FF would have responded to those issues. Their version of advertising included town criers and small scale

JLM makes an excellent point about unions and political speech. If the union is a corporation then how can the law distinguish or separate for-profit business interests from the corporation formed by individuals banding together or non-profit entities. Are there differences and should there be?

Clearly the corporation has more money, power and influence than the average citizen. Some Citizens have more money, and influence than others. Should this even be factored into the equation?

In my opinion, the real problem lies not in the differences of corporation vs. citizen, but in how politicians fund their message and campaigns. As long as the politicians have control over their election war chest they will not give it up. The only real solution that I see is to change the way that candidates finance their campaigns, and in how that money is accounted for and transferred from year to year.

When the incumbent has such a large campaign fund from previous years it damages the process and places a large burden on any challenger. It might be best for campaign finance to start fresh with every campaign and use all excess campaign funds at the end of each election to pay down public debt.

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Steve Lewis 4 years, 2 months ago

I'm grateful to read the above posts.

Everyone agrees less money in our politics would be better. (Tapering union rights with those of corporations makes sense.) All seem to agree our politicians have been swayed by the money and campaign finance reform is seriously needed.

Can we force a bi-partisan, grassroots concensus on Washington, on Colorado? The media is unlikely to lend an ear to an ethic that will cost them a lot of advertising $$. How can we get there? A start would be asking our 2010 candidates get on board with campaign reform - and applying it in their own campaigns.

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Jeff Kibler 4 years, 2 months ago

Term limits: Yes. Contribution limits: Yes. How about campaign time limits?

One (perhaps the only) thing I like about parliamentary systems of government, e.g. Europe and Israel, is that they dissolve the government and call for elections in about 6 weeks or so.

Perhaps we would have much less voter apathy if we could focus for a short period of time instead of being bombarded for two years prior to an election.

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housepoor 4 years, 2 months ago

One issue I see is that this also allows U.S. companies that are actually wholly owned subsidiaries of foreign companies or even foreign governments to have the same right as truly US owned ones. To allow them to have to have influence under the guise of a U.S. corporation.

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sledneck 4 years, 2 months ago

The law... corrupt. And its makers along with it. (Bastiat)

The law was originally designed to protect individuals from plunder. Instead, it is being used as a tool of plunder. And, with the states help, tyranny of the masses raids individuals who the state deems overly endowed.

Our founders rightly warned that corporations know NO national loyalty. They clearly warned of this. In fact, corporations should not be expected to show loyalty to America. Their loyalty is rightly to their share-holders. This is as it should be.

So many Americans forget... Corporations are owned by share-holders. Yes, those "evil corporations" are owned by citizens who hold shares. Their retirement is affected when the rest of you slam big business. It is the duty of CITIZENS to override corporate manipulation. It is the duty of CITIZENS to affect term limits on politicians. It is the duty of CITIZENS, not politicians, to starve corporations of their capital when they hurt our nation.

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Steve Lewis 4 years, 2 months ago

And how do you propose Citizens achieve these duties?

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Chuck McConnell 4 years, 2 months ago

housepoor,

No, foreign corporations cannot contribute. Another mistruth by obama.

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Jeff Kibler 4 years, 2 months ago

I wasn't the only one to notice the constitutional scholar's boo boo. I know he's busy but you'd think he would proofread his speeches before he gives them:

http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2010/01/does_obama_know_the_difference.html

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ybul 4 years, 2 months ago

Steve,

Put forth a ballot initiative in Colorado that states that there are term limits for elected federal officials.

The founders intended for those elected to the federal government to be picked by the members of the state legislature. The 17th? amendment changed that (not sure on the number). In Plato's Republic he speaks of how democracy will devolve into mob rule. The founders of our country new what they did not want for government, actually taking much of what the foundations of are government are from the Iriquois as well as Lacross.

I would suggest reading Batistes the Law as Sledneck pointed out, if you want to borrow it I will lend it. Also, I would highly recommend subscribing to Dr. Paul's weekly newsletters and thinking about what he writes and has written. I was pretty much a democrat prior to reading his thoughts. His libertarian views have the best solutions for the environment and seem to work on any issue there is IF you actually think through it and work towards addressing the root causes of the problems we face today as opposed to treating the symptoms as we seem to do in this county.

Pax

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seeuski 4 years, 2 months ago

housepoor quotes a progressive blog, how influential?

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ybul 4 years, 2 months ago

Also Steve, the problem is not simply with the elected officials. It probably more so lies with the people behind the scenes. They face no electability issues and are the ones that craft the legislation. Most politicians do not even read the legislation, they simply rely on their staff.

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NamVet 4 years, 2 months ago

The balance of power will now be in the hands of the big multinational corporations. The entity that spends the most money will more than likely get their hand picked candidate elected. Unions which are on their way out and have been for decades will never have the cash that the corporations and their foreign partners have to spend. Foreign governments through their government owned corporations will now have a big influence on who gets in office. The Big Oil Companies with their partners in the Middle East will spend what it takes to make sure we are still held hostage to foreign oil because of enormous profits that are at stake. The lies that were advertised during the past health care debate will be child's play compared what we will endure the next election cycle. It is all about power and money and "we ain't seen nothing yet". That is what happens when you appoint activist judges to the Supreme Court. The past decade was especially good for the top 1% of our country and bad for the average working American but it is just the beginning. It will be just a matter of time that true Democracy will be a thing of the past.

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Steve Lewis 4 years, 2 months ago

ybul, I may take you up on the reading. Thanks. My aim these days is about those writing the law, and specifically "our" Senators. Perhaps your books help there.

I completely disagree that the problem is more with the people behind the scenes, such as staff. Senator Bennett is accountable for his votes, not his staff. Neither do I get to vote on who is behind the scenes. This is all about the fellow we elect.

I'm registered Democrat. But it's been months since I thought the problem with this country was "those Republicans". Or those Libertarians. This year's "progress" on several issues before Congress is proving what really matters.

Yes it matters that Senator Bennett puts a "D" next to his name. But it matters a LOT MORE whose money he puts in his campaign fund. Washington DC makes a lot more sense when you stop counting D's and R's and start counting the campaign contributions. When you count on those terms, the votes and filibusters make all too much sense.

Consider this story: http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Politics/2009/1222/Wall-Street-s-fingerprints-evident-on-financial-reform-bill "At the 11th hour, new Democrats, led by Rep. Melissa Bean (D) of Illinois, threatened to tie up debate on the bill unless their provision enabling federal consumer protection laws to preempt stronger state laws was added to the bill."

"Bean dismisses charges from consumer groups that the $393,000 she received from the financial services industry in 2009 – about half her campaign donations to date – influenced her stance on the bill. “Agreeing with the industry on one thing doesn’t mean that they influenced the whole package,” she says,...

I had to ask myself, why would ANY politician side with the banks against their own state's interests? I expect this bill will raise a lot of Libertarian and Republican eyebrows. State's rights are definitely a loser here.

NamVet wrote a lot above that makes sense. Nothing he wrote was requires a frame of Rep of Dem. The partisan trenches simply do not address today's core problems. Big money is a problem for all of us. .

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JLM 4 years, 2 months ago

First, let me say that I think there is already way, way, way too much money in politics, in general, and in the election cycle, in particular. The presence of PACs and 527s --- you can't swing a cat without hitting a couple of them --- means that the corporations have already been pimping the politicians big time. In some ways, they will just be coming out of the shadows.

To me, the far greater problem is the low quality of folks who are attracted to politics as a life's endeavor. I suspect that the Founding Fathers did not really want politicians to become "career" politicians but the simple fact of the matter is that politicians will continue to run for re-election until they are arrested or beaten at the polls.

There may be a weird dividend paid in conjunction with the wholesale funding of elections by corporations --- we may actually be able to attract better folks to run for office because the ease with which money can be raised may quickly overcome the natural barrier to entry for good folks --- they are not particularly good at raising money.

If I had to predict, I would bet that we will have a Constitutional Amendment changing this system within the next 4 years.

In addition, the annoying low common denominator of political advertising --- you know exactly what I mean, remember the dopey ads from last election cycle --- is just so worthless that I doubt we can absorb any more repetitions of that crap. At some time, you become numb.

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Jeff Kibler 4 years, 2 months ago

Similar to the 22nd amendment, limit both houses of Congress to two terms. Extend the House terms to four years, reduce the Senate terms to four years. Representatives spend half of their two year terms campaigning as it is now.

If we could somehow limit the length of campaigns, that would be great, too.

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ybul 4 years, 2 months ago

Prior to dismissing those behind the scenes, I suggest you ponder Kissingers role in government and for how long. Yep, our elected officials are accountable for how they vote, it is also us who must engage the system and say enough, like happened with "sick/health care" (though those who think they are smarter than us think it is in our best interest, yet it is probably all a guise for more control over our lives - which they believe we can not manage, it passes and what you can eat will soon follow based upon someone's agenda driven study). Also, as you point out the feds are grabbing more and more power from the states.

The states need to step to the table and say enough is enough and stop allowing the feds to push their agenda on the states. The issue I see though is that the state has grown to such a level that it is akin to the feds and decision making needs to be pushed further down the ladder. Most great companies are founded from the foundation and the decision making is pushed to the lowest level possible.

Unfortunately the government is trying to push decision making to as high a level as possible, on to the UN from both parties. Anyway, the book is extremely short and was given to me so let me know where to send it or meet you to give it to you.

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NamVet 4 years, 2 months ago

The only way to save this Republic is to vote out ALL present Senators and Congressman out of office. Replace them with Independents not Republicans or Democrats. Term limits would be put in place with a max of 8 years in office. Pay would be changed to $100000 a year plus a performance bonus based a percentage of the surplus in the federal budget with a max of $400000. Each Senator and Congressman would have to purchase their own health insurance on the open market. All compensation would be subject to social security and medicare payments. Their retirement plan would consist of a matching 6% 401 and that is it. Their would be lifetime ban on any of them becoming Lobbyists. It is time these clowns start living like 98% of the rest of the country.
In the 1990's this country made some hard decisions for the best with the Deficit Reduction Act. Then in 2002 Bush refused to renew it and the spending went out of control with over $6 Trillion of wasteful spending which continues today. The Democrats are the "tax and spenders" and the Republicans are the "borrow and spenders". Both are destroying the country and putting either in power will change nothing except who is on the receiving end of OUR tax dollars. Some extremely difficult decisions will have to be made soon like cutting the out of control defense spending and entitlements and neither party is capable of doing it.

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mmjPatient22 4 years, 2 months ago

"As we know, there are known knowns. There are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns. That is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns, the ones we don't know we don't know."---Donald Rumsfeld

I don't know about the rest of America, but I, for one, KNOW that the passing of the Bush era from reality to history was a sweet, sweet moment. Let's only hope that our country is never run by such incompetence, ever again.

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NamVet 4 years, 2 months ago

You are right in that this country will never truly recover from the damage done by Bush and the Republican Congress who rubber stamped all his fiscal irresponsible spending. However that is history and we have to deal with the mess he left us. Putting the Republicans back in office will get us more of the same irresponsibility which is why we need to replace all of them with Independents.

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sledneck 4 years, 2 months ago

MMJ, Sorry your hopes failed. Our country IS being run by the same level of incompetence. Either that or they are competent and actually TRYING to destroy it. (which I actually believe is the case)

It is difficult to see how the current administration differs from Bush. We are being lied to by this administration. ( just like Bush) Our tax dollars are being wasted by this administration. (like Bush) It has contempt for the constitution. (like Bush) It has us in a quagmire of a war. (like Bush) Etc. R vs. D is the only difference.

The fact that so many on the left are now comfortable with BS that irritated them several years ago shows VERY VERY narrow mindedness. The fact that so many on the right are now UNcomfortable with things they accepted several years ago (SPENDING) shows the same narrow mindedness. "A pox on both your houses".

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mmjPatient22 4 years, 2 months ago

Personally, I find myself in disgust when I think about how far this country has strayed from what it was intended to be by those that created it. Granted, they might not have had everything figured out back then(like slavery, for one), but they sure as hell cared about what might happen if they just stood by and watched. Unfortunately, the ferver and passion that inspired the dawn of our nation seems to be missing from the attitudes of a lot of Americans. Our only hope is that those who have the passion now will stand up to those that are motivated by less than honorable intentions.

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JLM 4 years, 2 months ago

Damn, mmj, we completely agree on the direction our country is going. Either I am stoned or you are sober? LOL

What we need are patriots, statesmen and citizens who are willing to become politicians and return to being citizens rather than a "professional" political class who have neither the inclination, wisdom, life experience nor ability to serve our Nation and citizens.

We need citizen-politicians in the mold of the citizen-soldiers who have provided the defense of our liberties in times of crisis.

The Founding Fathers were brilliant and have routinely saved our Nation from its most base inclinations. The current crop of politicians could not hold their jocks.

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mmjPatient22 4 years, 2 months ago

JLM- Good to hear that you've got a level head on your shoulders when it comes to patriotism. I couldn't help but entertain the thought of what it would be like to sit down and discuss issues of national/global importance with you, or anyone else on this site, over a nice big bowl of enlightenment. That's actually a hell of an idea! Maybe some of you prohibitionists should swing by the co-op sometime for some peaceable, face-to-face, thought provoking conversation. It opens on the 12th and I'm sure that you'd be bound to run into me eventually.

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Scott Wedel 4 years, 2 months ago

Term limits is not the answer because it leaves lobbyists operating on big money as the biggest experts. And it leaves people wanting to be career politicians as needing more money to run for this or that office.

The solution lies more in honestly drawing districts and stop creating safe Republican and safe Democratic districts.

For instance, our local district is formed as a geographic grouping and not a safe district for either party. So we have Al White and Baumgarter that have to win the independent vote that are not the ideological party hacks that come out of Denver or Colorado Springs.

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JLM 4 years, 2 months ago

The answer is to get rid of the lobbyists and to also limit terms.

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JLM 4 years, 2 months ago

"...a nice bowl of enlightenment..."

Are you trying to lure me into using the devil weed? To induce the "reefer madness"?

I not only have a level head on my shoulders when it comes to patriotism, I have bled for our Nation and for you --- personally. I am a patriot. I was only happy and honored to have had the chance to serve. I would do it all again if called and count myself lucky in the bargain. Our Nation is worth it.

My hair still stands up on the back of my neck when I hear the Star Spangled Banner, my heart skips a beat when I see the flag whipping in the breeze, my eyes still tear up at Arlington Cemetery and I love the sound of the big guns and the smell of cordite. Especially the smell of cordite.

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mmjPatient22 4 years, 2 months ago

First of all, don't be too quick to assume that you're the only one in this conversation with any military service under their belt. Even though I have yet to bear the honor of bleeding for my country, I have served and was honorably discharged. I could not agree with you any more on how "worth it" it is to fight for your country. Unfortunately, the more recent conflicts that our nation has been entangled in have been more about oil than any form of freedom&democracy. One of the things that stirs my patriotism the most is seeing pictures of the plane-loads of flag-covered coffins that are awaiting buckets of tears. And it's never sat right with me that some presidents pull out armies like Kleenexes. "....and if I die in a combat zone, box me up and send me home...." I remember the cadences of boot camp like they were yesterday. Fighting in defense of one's country is more than an honorable act but you can't sincerely tell me that we're in the Middle East for the sole purpose of defending America. I'm no statesman or Sherlock Holmes, but I'm pretty sure that we're there for something other than the spread of freedom&democracy. My sincerest desire is to see a generation of patriots that can truly appreciate the meaning of "peace." War is one of those things that is usually never free of regret and it's been a while since this nation has known peace. The current conflict in the Middle East has seen 3-5 generations of American blood(not to mention their own) on it's soil and I say it's enough. Secondly, I would never be so brazen as to try to entice someone with cannabis. I will see my dying breathe before I cease "preaching" the wonders of cannabis and/or stop debunking the lies of the last 7 decades of drug warring. All that I do is speak truth about a plant that has had more than it's fair share of mud slung it's way. It's not my place to lure someone into smoking cannabis. I was merely enjoying thinking about how comical it'd be to watch you trying to hold an intelligent conversation while baked out of your gourd.

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mmjPatient22 4 years, 2 months ago

And personally, I think you're scared to stop by the co-op. You don't seem like the type that's afraid of confrontation, but maybe I'm wrong.

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seeuski 4 years, 2 months ago

JLM says.........."What we need are patriots, statesmen and citizens who are willing to become politicians and return to being citizens rather than a "professional" political class who have neither the inclination, wisdom, life experience nor ability to serve our Nation and citizens."

Yes we do! And here is one those Patriots. http://mcconnellforcongress.com/Contact.htm

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mmjPatient22 4 years, 2 months ago

Here's a little known piece of history;

Chuck Norris owns the greatest poker face of all-time. It helped him win the 1983 world series of poker despite him holding just a joker, a 2 of clubs, a 7 of spades, and a green number 4 from Uno and a monopoly ‘get out of jail free’ card.

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mmjPatient22 4 years, 2 months ago

For those that enjoyed that, good for you. For those that are still trying to figure out what Chuck Norris and poker have to do with the topic at hand, you can stop now.

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