Three-quarters in US say they lack influence

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It’s been getting worse and won’t ever change until we change (e.g. enlargen) our strategy and vision from feel-good nickel and dime “reforms” to structural cultural and constitutional changes — including abolishing corporate constitutional rights and the doctrine that money is protected free speech. @MovetoAmend

https://apnews.com/a3eac6255194410eb2ab2166f09cd429/AP-NORC-Poll:-Three-quarters-in-US-say-they-lack-influence?utm_campaign=SocialFlow&utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=AP_Interactive

House Passes Bill Aimed At Reversing Dodd-Frank Financial Regulations

Even the weak Dodd-Frank was too much for financial corporations. The FIRE (Finance, Insurance & Real Estate) industry is near the top of those that spend/contribute/invest $ in lobbying and political campaigns. Another fine example of their investment royally paying off…and why we need the We the People Amendment.

http://www.npr.org/2017/06/08/532036374/house-passes-bill-aimed-at-reversing-dodd-frank-financial-regulations?utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=npr&utm_term=nprnews&utm_content=20170608

 

Cleveland initiative opposing Citizens United should have gone to city voters: Lois Romanoff and Chris Stocking (Opinion)

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Great piece posted on cleveland.com…

I offered many reflections in the comments section at the end.

http://www.cleveland.com/opinion/index.ssf/2017/03/cleveland_democracy_day_is_wel.html#incart_river_home

Pay-to-play of Betsy DeVos

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Last Tuesday, U.S. Representatives from Ohio Marcy Kaptur, Marcia Fudge and Joyce Beatty spoke on the House floor demanding that President-elect Donald Trump’s choice for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, pay the millions in fines owed to the State of Ohio for breaking campaign finance law. As Rep. Kaptur testified:

“These obligations total $5.3 million dollars, in unpaid‎ fines and levied late penalties. Her PAC, All Children Matter, owes the state of Ohio for campaign finance violations, the largest fines ever levied in Ohio history.

In addition, according to OpenSecrets.org, Betsy DeVos gave direct contributions to at least 20 current Members of the Senate. These are the same Senators who will now confirm her for the Secretary of Education position.

No one is above law. Betsy DeVos’ attempt to subvert the law and buy influence is diametrically opposed to everything the President-elect advised was wrong with America. He wants to drain the swamp. I call on President-Elect Trump to hold Betsy DeVos accountable.”

DeVos is a huge supporter of privatizing/corporatizing public education through the creation of charter schools and vouchers.

It should be noted that several recipients of the illegal political campaign contributions in Ohio from nearly a decade ago are still in office, including Lt. Governor Mary Taylor, Sec of State John Husted, Treasurer Josh Mandel, and current Ohio House member and former Ohio Senate President Keith Faber.

DeVos’ confirmination hearing is today. Our Senators need to hear that we oppose her confirmation as Secretary of Education.

DeVos has an estimated net worth of $5.1 billion. She, like so many others of extreme riches, use their wealth power to achieve political power. It’s a formula for corruption, cronyism, political perversion, economic misallocation, and public mistrust, cynicism, alienation and disempowerment. It feeds on itself as others feel they must follow suit to keep us in a cycle that leads to democratic decay, if not destruction. It’s the path we are racing down. It’s up to us to stop it. Knowing is the first step. Taking action, strategic action, mass action that addresses root causes – not just (un)electing public officials or (un)enacting laws and regulations — must be the next step. That’s where changing ground rules, constitutional rules, comes in. It’s not easy. It’s not necessarily quick. But it must be our quest.

Electoral College Hijacks Democracy — Again

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Today is a historic day. Only 5 times in the history of the United States of America has a select number of individuals come together to overrule the will of a majority of voters who case their ballots for the President of the United States.

Those Overrulers are members of the Electoral College. Despite Hillary Clinton winning the popular vote by over 2 million individuals, Donald Trump won the majority of “Electoral College” votes — a relic of early U.S. history established to protect the political power of slave states from “free” northern states.

We are, thus, enslaved over the next four years with being ruled by a President without a popular mandate — again. Our undemocratic Constitution has once more delegitimized and corroded what remains of our democratic republic.

Over the last six months, we’ve seen three grotesque examples of democratic people power being hijacked by the power elite (I.e. wealthy individuals and corporations):

1.    Last summer, ExxonMobil Corporation argued in court against publicly releasing documents on what they knew about the effects of human activities, specifically the burning of fossil fuels, on climate change. Their defense was that such a release of such information was a violation of their 1st Amendment free speech, 4th Amendment search and seizure and 14th Amendment due process constitutional “rights.”

2.    Over the past two years, the impact of political contributions from the super wealthy and corporations from the Presidential level on down (or up, depending on your view) to the federal Congressional and state levels have drowned out the voices of people and constituencies trying to raise critical issues, perspectives and alternatives without access to millions of dollars to run political ads during the current election cycle. It’s nothing new. It was just worse that the previous election cycle, which was worse than the preceding cycle.

3.    The candidate for President of the United States who received two million more votes than her closest competitor lost to that competitor because of some arcane, slavery-era Constitutional provision.
Some democracy.

So what are the lessons for those dedicated to creating real democracy?

There are many, but the central one is the need to not only spend activist time, energy and resources focused on changing public officials, laws and regulations. We must also spend at least some time focusing time, energy and resources on changing or amending the many undemocratic elements of the U.S. Constitution.

How many more times will a corporation assert never-intended constitutional rights to avoid being accountable to the public and the planet before we act? How many more election cycles must we live through where the voices of huge numbers of individuals and key constituencies will not be politically heard before we act? How many more Presidents will be “elected” who receive fewer votes than their competitors before we act?

Imagine if a measly 1% of the $1.4 billion that was spent to elect Clinton was invested in a national effort to democratize the U.S. Constitution (addressing the items mentioned above and others)? That’s $14 million. Not a bad down payment for doing some democratic damage (as in positive change)!

Regarding the Electoral College, there is a short-term solution short of amending the Constitution. It’s passage in states of what’s called the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC). The idea is that states that pass this law agree to award all their electoral votes to the Presidential candidate who wins the popular vote nationwide, regardless of the vote in participating states.  Since it’s a law, what one legislature can pass, another in the future can repeal. It’s certainly better than what we have, but not as permanent as amending the Constitution to abolish the Electoral College altogether.

It’s time to take advantage of this outrageous, but also teachable and organizing moment to fundamental (re)create real democracy by democratizing our Constitution.

A U.S. Constitution with DEMOCRACY IN MIND

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The Electoral College fiasco once again (repeat: once again) underlines the strategic need to invest at least some of our activist energies on amending the Constitution. Focusing only on creating justice, peace, and sustainability through elections, laws and regulations (whether local, state and/or federal) isn’t enough if the fundamental constitutional ground rules are rigged against We the People — which they are. Here’s a piece from a few years ago on how to “democratize” our Constitution.

A U.S. Constitution with DEMOCRACY IN MIND

[scroll down to second article]

http://poclad.org/BWA/2007/BWA_2007_MAR.html#3

“Rigged” elections

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Thanks to the U.S. Constitution, we’ll have a President once again who lost the popular vote. It didn’t turn out so well last time (Bush rather than Gore). So much for We the People being in charge. The Electoral College is one of many undemocratic and “rigged” provisions of the Constitution. Can we really have anything resembling an authentic democracy when our basic overarching governing document is so undemocratic? Isn’t it time to rise up?!

The U. S. Constitution: Pull the Curtain
http://poclad.org/BWA/2007/BWA_2007_DEC.html